“Personally I have achieved many significant changes in my life.”

With her arms around two of her children, Clara stands beaming with confidence—something she struggled with all her life, until now.

In her Guatemalan village, Clara recently became a livestock promoter with a PWS&D-supported food security project. She also took on the roles of treasurer and health commissioner with other local organizations that are making her community a better place to live.

Clara and her children. Photo: AMMID

“In the past, this would have been very difficult for me to do,” admits Clara. She thanks another PWS&D-supported project in the region for giving her the knowledge and confidence she needed to be a leader in her community.

The project called Siempre Vivas (“Always Living”) promotes women’s rights and aims to strengthen their voices at home and at the institutional level.

Where Clara lives, a widely held belief is that rural women don’t have the capacity to be leaders and make decisions at the community level. It is this discrimination and inequality that have prevented women like Clara from pursuing their goals.

“We have no voice or vote in the decision making structures,” she explains.

With the aim of reversing this reality of oppression, the project conducts workshops that help women improve their self-esteem and knowledge of their rights and political participation.

“I realized that the principle reason that women don’t feel capable of being part of community organization is that we lack the opportunities for training and participation,” shares Clara. “The workshops helped me have confidence in myself and to not feel less than other men and women.”

Inspired by what she has learned, Clara is paving the way for future generations of women to claim the respect they deserve, become leaders, and build more prosperous, just communities—and a more compassionate world.

“We are highly grateful to PWS&D for supporting us in order to significantly change the hard reality of oppression, marginalization and violence that exist in all the dimensions of our lives as women. I am motivated to continue learning and fighting for the good life for the future generations.”