Women as Leaders 457
When we arrived in Honduras we were weak from hiding in the hills and
walking long distances to reach safety. There were many sick and malnourished
children and old people with us. There was nothing here for us, so the women
all worked together to organize nutrition centers. Then we got the local parish
to bring us some extra food for the centers and we began to plant vegetables
and raise chickens, goats, and rabbits to add to the food we prepared at the
centers. Our projects have grown and now we are also able to give every
family in the refugee camp a few eggs, a little bit of meat, and some vegetables
at least once a month.
We needed to repair our clothing and shoes, so we organized workshops
and convinced the agencies to bring us a few sewing machines and tools. Some
of the women had worked as seamstresses and an older man knew how to
make shoes and they taught others their skills. We are proud of what we have
achieved here—we have shown that women can do more than cook.
The agencies trained us to become health and nutrition workers and to raise
livestock. We have learned to add, subtract, and plan our expenses so that we
can manage these projects ourselves. Because of our experience with these
projects, many women are now leaders in the camp and when we return to our
country we will be able to run community projects and businesses.
—Aleyda, a Salvadoran refugee in Colomoncagua, Honduras
Ways to earn a living
Refugee and displaced women
often find it hard to get enough
work to support their families.They
may lack skills needed to work in
their new home or find it difficult to
get a work permit. But even in these
situations there is often some work
women can do.
I’m glad they give us food,
but there are other things
that I need to buy
for my family.
For example, some refugee women do
domestic work in people’s homes or work
as health workers in organizations that
provide aid. Sometimes these organizations
also give women money to start projects in
traditional women’s activities, like handicrafts.
But since it can be hard to support a family
with these activities, women should also
try to find out about larger projects—like
planting trees or building shelters—that pay
more. Or, if women are given plots of land,
they can grow food for their families or to sell.
And if a woman has training, she may be able to
work in a trade or small business.
I know how to
could set up
➤ Refugee and
need choices, so
they will not be
forced to sell sex to
survive and support
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012