While interweaving threads of various colors, Celestina examines her life in the blink of an eye. “Only my three younger brothers studied when we were growing up. My dad gave me a year of studies, and that’s how I passed 1st grade”, and then she adds with great satisfaction: “A few years ago I started learning to speak Spanish. I read slowly… but I am able to write and sign”.
8 years have passed since Celestina decided to knit her dreams to make changes in her life. And since then, she has been a part of the Nurturing the Future Project. “We are taught to eat better and with less money. We have learned many things, such as how to motivate ourselves, to get to know ourselves, how to start a business, and to make an income”.
Today, Celestina, just like other women in her community, expresses the courage they now have to promote the abilities and skills that positively impacted their families and their community. “I tell them that without courage, there’s nothing we can do. For instance, I built my house last year… And sometimes, when there are gatherings, there are women to whom their families don’t allow them to go. But we are learning that as women, we are strong, brave, that we have rights and a voice… and that we must keep moving forward despite the obstacles”.
It has been 3 years since a combination of commitment and courage made Celestina responsible for the group of female producers, leaders and mothers who participate in the Nurturing the Future Project. She also applied the knowledge gained from the project with a group of 20 women, with whom she exchanges and distributes products, such as traditionally embroidered blouses and regional costume sashes, a practice that plays a determining role for the income of economic resources for their households.
“I still want a little bit more. My dream is to have my own business and take it overseas… If I hadn’t attended the meetings, I wouldn’t have had the courage to put myself out there…”
A small smile contrasts with her enormous conviction. For both the women of Simajhuleu and for Celestina, this change is visible at the times of decision-making in their families, and when getting a fair treatment between men and women. “Some people have said that we are brave… I now see a difference. We talked about it now and they say ‘It’s good that you joined the Nurturing the Future Project, because they are teaching us how to run our own business’. Not so long ago, there was a meeting in my sector, and both men and women arrived, because we are now allowed to participate and express our opinions. It wasn’t like that before”.
Celestina continues to weave her ball… and with clear excitement, she expressed how she began her journey alone, learning and working on her own, which inevitably inspired her to create a community along other brave and hardworking women, to whom she reminds that, in this beautiful country, it is not possible to grow together without courage, and that the best thing they can do is to protect one another. That was the thread they were missing.