After finishing high school I was never able to get a formal job or continue studying because of my economic situation. One day Meybell and Silvia, who coordinate EEP, were going house to house promoting the project. After speaking to them I realised it seemed like a good opportunity to continue studying as they offer scholarships which allow women like me to contribute financially in our homes.
The program is fabulous, very dynamic and we have learnt a lot, especially from the psychologist’s talks: we have learnt about anger management, to value ourselves as women and how to have a respectful relationship with our partners. Everything I have learnt I have put into practice with my family, my partner supports me and the roles in the house have changed.
From a young age journalism and social communication have appealed to me. Once the project is completed I hope to get a permanent job and start studying at university on Saturdays.
Previously I was a housewife. I found out about the project through my husband’s niece who told me that they were looking for unemplyed women and that they helped and supported women in difficult situationn so I come to ask for more information.
When I realised I wanted to do the project I was afraid that my husband would leave me but after talking to him he told me that if I wanted to get ahead and look after myself I should take advantage of the opporutnity. Once I started the program I thought it was excellent because the first thing they do is help you to feel good about yourself and make you feel worthy to be a woman.
My relationship with my family has changed since I’ve been in the program and it has helped a lot with my well being. My partner can be very authoritative at times but now I tell him that he shouldn’t behave like that, that we should respect each other and that he can’t just boss me around all the time. Things are getting better little by little.
I have learnt new skills in crafts, I have discovered skills and patience that I didn’t know I had before. The psychological workshops have helped me to see different things, to feel useful, to know what my purpose is and to raise my self-esteem.
When I was little I said that I was going to get a degree in English and that I was going to be succesfull, it was all an illusion, but now after finshing the program I can see myself getting a job, earning my own money and becoming independent. I will be able to give my son the support he needs and finally be happy.
I used to spend all my time in the house with my 4-year-old daughter doing the chores. One day my neighbour, Aracelly, who participated in the program last year and now works in the Chureca Chic store, told me about the program and how it would benefit me, so here I am today. Since starting the program my life has changed, I am so grateful for the support I recieve from my mother and my husband who help care for my child.
Since telling my husband about the opportunity he has been very happy because there are not many opportunities for women to progress in their professional lives. One of the workshops I enjoyed the most was the one on gender equality because we learnt about domestic violence in our society, fortunately I have always maintained good communication with my husband and I always tell him everything I learn in the programe.
The project has helped me to realize everything that we are capable of as women and that we can achieve goals that we never imagined achieving. Sometimes life gets in the way and we can’t move forward, this opportunity has been the push that I needed.
I used to work in a factory, then I became a typical housewife, cleaning, cooking, getting the children ready, and taking them to school. After hearing about EEP I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get out of my routine, I had spent the last six months doing the same thing every day, I was feeling a little frustrated.
When I first started the project I needed the support of my mom to take care of my little boy but then my mom got sick so I had to leave to give her constant care but she insisted that I continue. At first I found it hard to adapt to the program but now I love it, it is very motivating and it teaches me a lot. It’s helped me to improve my temprement, my relationship with my son and now I have less arguments at home with my mom. My character has changed a lot, I used to be very uptight and somewhat hateful but now I feel much more at peace with myself.
Before starting the programe I used to help my mom with the house chores while she was looking for work. I was very nervous at the beginning because I didn’t know what to expect but with time I started to like it more and more. I have now developed several skills and I have been perfecting new craft techniques.
I am very shy so public speaking makes me really nervous, but the workshops with Belinda have helped me to overcome this. I thank the program for this window of opportunity, it has been a huge step for me, and it has given me the strength to persist and succeed.
I used to stay at home taking care of my children and washing clothes for a living. I was so nervous at the beginning of this experience because I was completely out of my comfort zone, but then I realised that the most important thing to do before a big life change like this is to commit yourself 100%, it will be tough at the beginning but if you persevere you will succed in the end.
You have to remember to keep going and be aware that if things do not work out as you thought they would there will always be more opportunities in the future. That is the best thing about starting something new, you meet new people and you open up possibilities. The program is so complex and complete, to begin with you start to see a change in yourself, and then your life perspecitvie starts to change.
I was working half time in a dining room, as a kitchen assistant and part time in a beauty salon, doing nails. I was frustrated, worked too many hours for a minimum wage. I decide to leave both jobs to enter EEP since I saw that in the long run was my best option.
In my case my passion has always been to do nails and what motivated me most of the program are all the new artistic skills that teach us to develop and I have proposed to have my own business, and I know I will not have any regrets because I would have shown myself that I could do anything I put my mind on. I have become motivated, committed and determined in achieving my goals, come what may. I have also improve on organising skills, a sense of responsibility and my capacity to work hard under pressure.
I used to work for myself doing crafts in my house, that’s why EEP caught my attention, since my childhood I have always had a passion for making things, above all making jewelry. I was surprised when I learnt more about the complete program, I thought we were only going to be doing crafts, I did not expect the psychosocial talks or the IT classes, I have never had the opportunity to receive classes like these before.
I have seen changes in the way that I communicate with my partner, and how I talk to my son. EEP teaches us how to handle money, I already have my savings account and my goal is to save enough money to be able to go back to Puerto Cabezas where my family live and to start my own business there.
In 2004 I worked in a factory and after that It was really hard to find another job. I ended up staying at home looking after the house. I did the chores, took the children to school, made them lunch, helped them to do their homework, did the laundry, cleaned the house, it was the same monotonous routine every day. That’s why I was interested in the scholarship given by EEP because I wanted to take the time to learn new things and develop new skills. I told myself this is the opportunity to see what I can accomplish as a woman.
Here we have been preparing for the world of work as well as learning what it means to be a woman, a mother and a wife, as much of the time we are not aware of our own strengths.
One of my biggest regrets is not getting to finish my secondary education and not getting a degree at university because of my economic situation, where I was raised this is very common. So by the end of the program I hope to have a permanent job so I can save money to buy my own home and have my own life insurance. My main motivation is to give my children a good future and achieve my own goals. If I could I would say to my 11-year-old self don’t Ioose motivation and work hard for what you want.
My dream since I was a little girl was to be a teacher but life happens and I couldn’t fulfill my goals, I got married young and dedicated my life to raise my daughters. At first my husband was a bit scared because he did not understand very well what the program consisted of but now that he saw it as a way to get ahead together, he always support me. Since starting the program one of the biggest changes has been in myself, I no longer have that fear or insecurity in doing things.
I was very excited to start something new, totally different from what I was used to until now, but at first the fear paralyzed me. It was probably a mixture of things: to fail, not to live up to expectations, receiving criticism from others. But if you focus on fear you will never get move foward. The important thing I have learnt here is not to be overcome by fear but to go ahead in spite of it all.
One day I heard a knock at my door and I was greeted by two programme coordinators of a social project called EEP. They explained that they were looking for women who wanted to take part, I could not pass up the opportunity because in addition to learning new skills I was going to recieve a scholarship. This reason was enough to convince me because I had never been paid to study nor given the opportunity of someone helping me find a permanent job.
Where I have seen changes is in the relationship I have with my sons, I’m much more patient, especially with my eldest son who is the most rebellious, I’m more tolerant with him and now I talk to him rather than giving him physical punishment.
When I was invited to participate in the program, I took it as a personal challenge since everything was unknown to me, I was very shy but I have come to create good relationships with my coworkers which helped me adapt easily.
For me it is very important to share everything I learn with my partner, and I have seen how since I started the program has strengthened the relationship we have, now there is a better communication and I feel that I have awakened, not only me, also the women around me, before we were afraid to speak and now we question that custom that they teach you from the household to follow the orders of the husband.
I am currently finishing my twelfth grade of high school, in the morning I’ll go class and in the afternoons I come to the EEP capacities. Since I was very little I helped my mom selling stuff in the market but I decide to participate in EEP to see what I am capable of doing for myself. Since being in the program It has grown in me the passion for doing crafts, sometimes my mom will say “You are crazy” because I’m always looking for new materials with which I can innovate my creations.
My plan is once the program ends, I hope that I can get a good job that allows me to pay for my university studies. Now I know that I can achieve everything I propose to, the program has teach me so many new things, like how to exploit my skills and empowered some parts of me that I considered weak.
I had stopped working and was at home taking care of my little girl and decide that instead to be sitting around the house, it was is better to learn something new. I thank the project because they have given me so much help. I didn’t know that I had the talent for doing crafts and here I came to develop that skill.
In the psychosocial workshops I learned how to treat and raise my daughter better as a single mom you can often feel isolated and overwhelmed, so it’s important to feel that you have some sort of community behind you. I realize that I’m basically raising my daughter on my own, and that my actions have a big impact on her well-being so having goals, no matter how modest, can keep my spirits up and keep me moving forward, that way I can assure that my daughter have a brighter future.
A neighbor who participated previously told me about the program and I found it interesting to learn about recycling, which is something I didn’t imagine could be transform into art, let alone a source of income.
The workshops of Professor Belinda have taught me a lot, I have never had a formal job and it has helped me to train professionally. We also see issues such as self-esteem, character management, and conflict resolution. We learn to know ourselves as a person and grow. I hope at the end of the program to get a job to be able to support my mom financially, and as she always says “we all start from scratch, the important thing is to take advantage of experience and put effort into what is done”. Now I am starting my degree in Business Administration.
After finishing high school I started college but soon they increase the monthly payment and I couldn’t continue paying for it so I started looking for a job but it is very difficult to find one without having any type of background education.
I didn’t know that there were institutions that supported women to get ahead, especially that they prepare you in your professional training because of the economic situation in which I grew up, I do not have many opportunities like this. That is why I am very grateful to EEP for giving me this opportunity, it has exceeded my expectations, and it has had a strong impact on my life, changing my way of thinking about certain topics such as family violence, gender equality, and the rights we have as women and how to enforce them.
Two years ago my youngest sister died, she had a 12-year-old boy whom I and my mother are raising now. So when the opportunity to enter the project was presented, I saw it as a blessing and a challenge at the same time because everything was so unknown. The psychosocial workshops have helped me to know myself, to learn how to control my character, to be more patient and to overcome certain obstacles.
I have never worked before, not because of lack of desire, but because of lack of experience, which is the first requirement they ask for in all jobs, but how they expect you to gain experience if you do not get the opportunity. That’s why I’m focused on the project and take advantage of it, because I want to support my family, help my mother with the expenses of the house and give my nephew the opportunities I didn’t have.
I worked with my husband collecting trash materials in the Chureca dump, then I got pregnant and that’s when I decided that I had to make a change in my life. Little by little I gained confidence, perfecting my skills in crafts and now I am one of the leaders of his group. So I have not only grown as a craftswoman but also as an empowered woman because before entering here I had no goals or purpose in life but now I want to have a job, buy a house and get a life insurance for my daughter.
My daughter is my main motivation, I do everything for her. I have changed a lot since I entered EEP. When I arrived I was a very aggressive person, I was always fighting but since I’m here I learned to behave, to change my character, I have grown as a person and I want to be a good example for my little girl.
I was unable to go to college, so with little education, no support from my family, and no job prospects; I was so unhappy, I finally realized I could wake up and do something. My life has changed a lot since my involvement with EEP. I gained confidence and now I’m sure deep inside that despite the difficulty of the situation, if I persevere I can succeed. I want to help awaken knowledge and awareness in my community, just like I was awakened. Children need education and information to be able to grow into adults who can have economic security. Girls especially.
Some will say that we are weak, others will say that we only dream and talk to talk, but the truth is that every day we are stronger and we are more. We work hard and value ourselves and our work. The manual work is important, has a value, has allowed me to change my life and my family.
Right now I am having many discussions with my mother but focusing on working and the program is what gives me strength to move foward. I have stopped being a quiet woman, always afraid to feel despised when giving my opinion. Thanks to the training of EEP now I feel strengthened and invincible.
I was largely invisible because I didn’t know how to speak my mind. We as women were never encouraged to speak by our family and society. I have realised that it is not as difficult as we thought to break this barrier. Before EEP, I didn’t feel capable of follow my dreams. The discussion classes taught me that I could do this. I realised that we shouldn’t simply wait for men to offer us something . Sometimes we need to fight for ourselves, empowerment and equality our rights.
I was just an ordinary person in my community before I was chosen to be part of the program. At first I was afraid, but since I participate in Earth Education Program, it has prepared me even more to acquire new knowledge. I have had opportunities to share this knowledge with other women around me who needed it most.
Being in this program had made me feel important. I feel that I have changed a lot, I have become more responsible and learned to be more honest and comprehensive with my peers. Our heart becomes happy because they teach us so much.
María José Guerrero
Before the program I had finished high school a year ago and because of the economic situation I couldn’t go to college but thank God I came to EEP, they were looking for women who wanted to improve themselves and I have witnessed how both, I and my coworkers have grown, now we spoke with so much confidence and we feel we’re heard. Our self-esteem was also strengthened, we had become a family concerned not only to grow professionally but also to create bonds between ourselves. We got to know each other, exchange opinions and share sorrows and joys.
I am very proud to be able to contribute economically in my home. My work makes me feel good, and now I don’t let myself be marginalized by any man and I always defend my coworkers. We must be united.