Women have come a long way since the first International Women's Day was celebrated 100 years ago--and our work continues. This International Women's Day, myMADRE is sharing stories from our partners. These stories serve to illuminate the struggles women and girls continue to face around the globe. But they also demonstrate the strength and innovation women display in combating these obstacles.
This next story is from Bibidilia, an elderly Nicaraguan Indigenous woman who turned to MADRE's sister organization, Wangki Tangni, to secure an income for herself when she was no longer able to farm.
An elderly woman and an Indigenous healer and midwife, Bibidilia is a godmother to nearly half of the children of her community of Waspam, located on the North Atlantic coast of Nicaragua. She provides traditional healing services at no charge to many poor people, and she is a community leader, revered for her skills and dedication.
On a typical day, Bibidilia wakes up at 5 a.m. to prepare the day's food. By 6 a.m., she is tending to patients or collecting medicinal plants and flowers for her treatments. At 8 a.m., Bibidilia crosses the Coco River in her small boat and walks two hours to her farm. She works alone, growing beans, rice, and vegetables. Every afternoon, she walks the two hours back to the river, carrying whatever she has harvested. Usually, it is only enough to feed herself; there is rarely anything left over to sell.
As Bibidilia began to age and her capacity for farm work diminished, she worried about how she would feed herself. Fortunately, MADRE’s partner organization in Nicaragua, Wangki Tangni, was able to start a program called “Seeds of Success,” which provided Bibidilia with the resources and training to start a modest bread-baking venture. The money she earns ensures that she can continue to live independently and with dignity.
Now, Bibidilia is able to give back to her community. Every week, she welcomes more than 40 community members to the Children's Book Corner where she coordinates play and learning activities for young and old alike. Bibidilia is determined to help build a brighter future for her community.
To learn more about MADRE's work in Nicaragua, and what your support enables us to do in Indigenous communities like Bibidilia's, click here.