Women can achieve their dreams

Maybeline, Vilma and her two children

March is the month of International Women’s Day. Our goal is to empower the women in the HCT program, recognizing that all women face different challenges on a daily basis.

Doña Vilma’s story is worth telling. She is the older sister of 4 siblings and was born and raised in Los Planes. She is currently 34 years old, is married and the mother of two children, Margareth and Angelito.

When they were young, she played with her brothers. However, due to all the needs her family struggled with, they did not have toys but they managed to play and have fun together.

“I was very excited when it rained because I knew that the rain was going to create mud and with that mud I could make my own little dishes like mud pots, those were my toys and I was very happy with them.”

Vilma with her children

She and her brothers were growing and the needs were increasing in her family. Her father was absent, and her mother had to take care of her children alone. For these reasons, she had to make the decision to travel to the capital to work and support her family. Full of courage and determination, at the age of 14 she left her community to look for a job opportunity.

Leaving home to support her family:
“I never thought that by leaving my community I would face a totally different world.  While I was working in the city I had sad moments; I missed my family but life also put me in difficult situations. I was just a girl. At that age I had already experienced many things in my personal life that, looking back on them now, fill me with sadness and pain.”

After living in the city for a long time, she returned to her community. Her brothers were able to study during that time, they grew up and made decisions to migrate to the United States in search of better opportunities for themselves, and they succeeded. Her brothers do not forget what she did for them and they have supported her.

“My brothers do not forget what I did for them and they motivate me to keep going. Sometimes we talk on the phone remembering how our childhood was and we cry because we suffered a lot.  We didn’t have the same opportunities that children have now, but here we are, still standing”.

Vilma’s story about her and her family is not unique. Our HCT program was developed recognizing these shared experiences of generations of rural families. Women receive training and counseling to restore self esteem and healthy emotional lives. This part of the program  has generated a lot of positive responses from them. They identify with the stories we share with them, they share their experiences with each other and they learn together.

Finding opportunities:
Over time, Vilma was married and now has two children. Her husband has always supported her in everything she wanted to do. One day, a training program for women arrived in her community and Vilma took the opportunity and enrolled in this group.

“I have always been a woman who participates. I like to get involved in groups.  Some time ago, I heard about a program to raise chickens.  I joined the group and they taught us how to raise chickens. I was very excited. Iit was something new and different, and thanks to this program, I had the opportunity to obtain a loan that we used  to create a small business. I  decided to use the money to buy 5 chickens and raise them. To my surprise, I did a good job and the chickens sold very quickly, especially on holidays. Now with ViviendasLeón I see that it is a great opportunity to continue growing and learning, I really like to learn”.

Since then, Vilma has been dedicated to raising chickens, feeding them, and making deliveries inside and outside her community. Her husband has been a great support for them by being in charge of delivering the chickens, while their children support her by feeding the chickens and taking care of them. She has a family that supports her every day.

Joining our training program:
Now that Vilma has heard about the work that ViviendasLeón wants to do in Los Planes, she has been motivated to sign up and accept the challenge of being part of the first training group for women in the HCT program.

Vilma’s story is admirable and inspirational. Her attitude of fighting for what she wants and to achieve what she has longed for and dreamed of is an important lesson and example for her community. We are committed to the empowerment of women. We believe that with a change of perspective and support, women can achieve everything they set their minds to even when there are challenges and difficult situations they have gone through. These experiences often keep women from success, but can also be a source of motivation.