Fall Appeal 2016
I wish to share with all of you how proud we feel at Horizons about the accomplishments of this year.
Sometimes, it feels as though our battle is not unlike that between David and Goliath; making a dent in an unjust system is not an easy task. The community members we support face extreme conditions and great challenges. But when I see how inspired they are and the energy they bring to changing their conditions, I realize it’s possible to win the battle.
The women I’ve met in Central America and Mexico are leading the charge. There’s Iris, a young maquila (sweatshop) worker in Nicaragua who is working with our partner, MEC, to educate women on their rights as workers and women. There’s Angelina Aspuac from AFEDES in Guatemala, who is fighting for the rights of indigenous women. Doña Esperanza Ordoñez, an indigenous midwife, has spent her life volunteering to save the lives of new mothers and their babies. And Flor Eugenia who heads the Mother-Teachers group based in Panama, has influenced thousands of women in Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama.
I wish you could meet these women, and others like them throughout the region. They are resourceful, powerful figures who draw energy and wisdom from their own battles, from their own despair. They are skilled at converting their personal struggles into action and change.
Patricia Rebolledo, Flor Eugenia, Johany, Xiomara and Chanita
Flor Eugenia and the mother-teachers are a good example of this. They believe that change comes from investing time in the youngest members of the community. OMMA members are mothers with little education from impoverished communities. Yet these moms volunteer to run day care centres where they provide stimulating educational experiences for kids 0-6 (including their own.)
In Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica, drug trafficking, youth and gang violence, lack of educational opportunities, and weak justice and law enforcement systems directly impact the safety and security of the most vulnerable members of the society – kids and women.
The daycares not only get kids school-ready (there are no accessible pre-schools) but also provide kids with a safe haven from violence. The mother-teachers (who are often subjected to domestic violence) are able to find employment outside the home, can learn to read and write along with their kids, and also receive training in leading classes, violence against women and self-esteem. But there’s even more benefits for women.
Chanita, a long-time volunteer, told me when she joined OMMA 17 years ago she immediately felt a sense of belonging, a sense of dignity. She felt part of something bigger than herself; her isolation was no longer her shadow. With the Mother-Teachers, Chanita felt surrounded by other women who understood her pain, despair and desire for change.
Yes, we want to be part of the change!
The Mother-Teacher model has proven to be a simple and effective way to influence change locally and at a higher level. OMMA is so successful, it has grown from a single daycare in Panama to 300 in Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras, illustrating how widespread is the determination among women to change their lives and the lives of their kids for the better.
When I share stories like this one, I feel that Goliath can indeed be defeated – not by a well-aimed slingshot but by the sheer force of people working together toward a common goal. With support from Horizons and you at home, with the work of our partners, and with the strength of women like Iris, Angelina, Chanita, Esperanza and Flor Eugenia, positive and sustainable change is possible.
Please continue to be part of this force for change in Mesoamerica. A gift of $25, $50, or $100 today will help women and children achieve their dreams.
P.S. Horizon’s monthly giving program, Circulo de Amigos, is the easiest way for you to support long-term development and change. Sign up now.