Emotional health is important for women’s empowerment

A workshop group of 6 women among the 28 in our new HCT program in Guatemala

The Human Capacity Training (HCT) program has been a space where women can forget their routine life for a moment and express their feelings, their way of thinking, even get out of their comfort zone to be involved in conversations and activities that they do not usually have in their homes.

We have finished with our first module: the importance of strengthening one’s self-esteem and at the same time, accessing one’s emotions and feelings. These are generally not talked about in rural communities, and are typically not considered important due to the beliefs and cultures of these populations.

Openly discussing empathy, assertive communication, expressing our emotions and knowing how to channel them has been something new for our participants. What the participants expressed during this module has been nothing short of incredible:

Teresa Mendoza Can

“I had never heard of depression and anxiety until I experienced it. I was diagnosed with depression due to the death of my parents. I can now process everything little by little, and I now know that it is important that my colleagues hear my story and learn about these issues never discussed within our communities. We now know what actions to take if at any time they find themselves in this situation.”

“Without knowing about these issues, I have applied a lot of what I have learned with my daughter. I am happy because this means that I am doing things well as a mother.  I read a little about depression and its consequences. In this program, I have learned how to manage my emotions, and now I know that it is not wrong to get angry, and not knowing how to control my anger”.

Dina Elena Xitamul

Doña Eva

“I am a mother and I raised my daughters without knowing about empathy and assertive communication. I did not act well with them several times, so this topic has been very strong for me. I remembered many actions with my daughters that were wrong.  However, now I can practice this with my grandchildren who also live with me.  I do not want to repeat the same mistakes of the past. I am going to apply assertive communication and empathy with my grandchildren so that when they grow up, they too can apply it with their friends, family and in places where they are involved.”

A self-confident woman is capable of achieving everything she sets her mind to, now that our participants have received the first self-esteem module. They know a little more about the importance of managing their emotions, applying the knowledge with their family, their friends, and above all, with themselves. Currently, there is a lot of conversation about taking care of our emotional and mental health, even as this continues to be a challenge in rural communities. It is something we must prioritize and keep present in our HCT sessions because it will motivate women to fight for what they want to achieve.