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 entry is from Rosa, an Indigenous Ixil woman from Guatemala. After years of war, Rosa's community was impoverished, and the people were hungry. Thanks to MADRE's sister organization Muixil, Rosa now runs a small-scale sustainable farm that both feeds her and empowers her to educate members of the community about Indigenous women's rights.
“Everything changed when the soldiers arrived,” said Rosa, an Indigenous Ixil woman living in the Quiché region of Guatemala. “They burned our homes and killed many of my friends and neighbors.” It was 1982, the height of the Guatemalan civil war. Although Rosa fled with her family to the mountains, they were eventually captured by armed forces. “When I was imprisoned, I will never forget the sight of soldiers raping the young women,” recalled Rosa. After six months, Rosa and her family were released. However, they remained displaced from their home and faced extreme poverty and hunger.
Then Rosa joined MADRE’s Farming for the Future program, which is run in partnership with our sister organization, Muixil. Farming for the Future empowers women by supporting the establishment of small-scale, sustainable chicken and pig farms. The communally owned farms generate food security and income for families who would otherwise go hungry. “I am grateful to MADRE and Muixil for helping us rebuild our communities after years of war,” said Rosa. “My family is eating better because we have eggs and meat. I am learning about human rights and teaching other women in my community to recognize their rights as Indigenous women.” With MADRE’s support, 135 women have received chickens. MADRE and Muixil hope to expand the Farming for the Future program to 350 women this year, supporting a total of 2,450 people.
To learn more about MADRE's Farming for the Future program in Guatemala, and how your support is helping Indigenous women like Rosa, click here.