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A leader who

raised her voice

“Before joining the female group, my four children and I used to go to coffee farms to work. I was not getting a fair pay for being a woman, but it was the only way I could provide for my family”.

50-year-old Rosalía López is from the Xejuyú neighborhood, township of San Lucas Tolimán. She used to be a very shy women, who considered her opinions invalid for not being able to read or write.

The need to provide a dignified future to her children allowed her to join the groups in her community, where she noticed the needs that other women were experiencing. For many years, she experienced those same feelings and felt impotent for not being able to express herself, but once she was ready, she raised her voice to request a housing project that benefited her whole community and provided a roof for herself and her children. 

Several women saw how Rosalía started to grow as a person and recognized her as a leader in whom they could trust. Because of this, they decided to organize themselves to learn a craft that could give them the opportunity to generate an economic income. 

The group of women dedicated to the production of oyster mushroom was named “The daisies” (Las Margaritas). At the beginning, they did not have appropriate spaces or resources to improve the quality of their product, for which they only managed to sell three pounds. 

Nevertheless, through the project “Reinforcing the economic leadership of rural women”, they got the support they needed to build an Oyster Mushroom production module. They all worked to build the structure by investing their time and efforts. 

In this new production center, they carry out the entire process of planting, harvesting, cleaning, and packaging, to then have the final product for sale. Additionally, they have achieved an organizational, economic, personal, family-oriented and community stability.

Rosalía and her group now sell over fifteen pounds of mushrooms per week. In addition, they have their own brand and a production system that allows them to increase their economic income, while providing a service to the community for producing a meat substitute.

I went through difficult times, but I never stopped fighting to get what I needed at home. I have been living away from my husband for thirteen years, because I experienced a lot of violence with him. However, when I see my kids now, and how they were able to get their high school diploma, my heart fills with joy and I feel that all the efforts I have made have been worth it