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One Woman’s Journey to Transform Her Family’s Future

Published 03/15/2016 by Global Communities

By Gesler Castillo

With her three children and husband, 31-year-old Londy Azuceli Pérez Mendoza lives in the community of Cipresales in Mixco, Guatemala.

Since November 2013, Londy has been an active participant in a Women Empowered (WE) savings group called, “Women Who are Full of Grace and Courage.”

PCI’s WE initiative helps vulnerable women form self-managed, self-sustaining groups to develop human and financial capital. Group members are trained on small business management, goal setting and leadership skills.

Londy shared that before the WE group of women first became a unified group, there were some challenges.

When they first heard about the WE initiative, the group of women felt mistrust, and insecurity, and they doubted that it would be possible to save money. But as the savings meetings continued and the women observed that the money stayed in the community, the group began to grow more confident.

On a personal level, Londy began to set her own goals hoping to improve conditions at her home and for her family.

In the first savings cycle, Londy’s goal was to save enough to have electric service installed in her home. She was very excited when she achieved her first goal so that her family could enjoy the benefits of electricity.

Motivated by the results of reaching her first goal and seeing more confidence in the whole group, Londy set a second goal: save enough money to help her husband improve the roof on their home. Together, Londy and her husband found a solution and fixed the problem.

WE allows women to build confidence and improve their interpersonal relationships in ways that benefit the community and each of the participants’ households.

As a child, Londy dreamed about becoming an architect but given her family’s limited resources, she could only attend classes up to fourth grade.

Londy said, “Now I am beginning a new cycle, and I want to save this year so that my husband and I can enroll our three children in school next year and give them the opportunity to study that we didn’t have.”

To make her family’s dreams a reality, she is even more motivated to continue to save money.

“Now my dream to become an architect is reflected in one of my children and that is why we want to keep saving,” she shared. “What begins as a dream based on the confidence we are building as women, can become a reality just like the savings we are building.”

Investing in community-led development through the social and economic empowerment of women results in real and lasting change.

“I have learned something important,” said Londy. “We women can make decisions and we have rights; we can be leaders and we play an important role in the community and in our families.”

Photo and Story By Gesler Castillo, PCI’s Field Supervisor, PAISANO, Guatemala