10-13-13  |  Our Programs

Women Come Together

BY: Meg Canale

The conversation with Professor Gladys and the view from the Infant and Toddler Education Workshop will forever be in my memory. When we arrived at Los Llanitos, a rural community in northern Nicaragua, a group of 20 women and girls were nervously and timidly waiting for us; they knew we were going to sit in on one of their sessions. Women from all ages come to the meetings, from pregnant  adolescents to woman over 50, grandmothers carrying their grandchildren. Many walk hours to reach the workshop, where they receive training and support for infants and toddlers, as well as a space to reflect, where all are heard, where advise flows, and where laughter is abundant. 


Gladys is the teacher leading the group; she has dedicated over 20 years to the community defending the rights of rural women. When we asked her how she began leading, she confessed that: “I’ve always been this way; I was a natural born leader.” She first worked in a community health brigade for the Ministry of Health where she visited the houses of very remote communities to track the height and weight of children. “I’m also a midwife,” she says, “so I’ve helped many women give birth, and now I encourage young woman and pregnant mothers to go to a hospital to give birth.”

With Fabretto’s help, Gladys has received materials and training in innovative methodologies that have improved the quality of their Infant and Toddler Education classes. “These women didn’t speak much before, but we managed to overcome the barrier of silence.” Women in the communities, since attending these workshops, have improved their self-esteem, food security, and health of their children. 

“In this community we have 12 children with disabilities,” Gladys tell us, “So it is very important that mothers attend the session with their children, as the classes and rehabilitation therapy can greatly improve their quality of life. During the classes, we do exercises and play-focused activities, the children have a lot of fun.” The group also hosts talks on topics including child abuse and domestic violence. Gladys helps and supports women who speak out to denounce and report abuse.

Workshops like these empower rural women and promote progress in extremely rural communities.  Thanks to Fabretto and its teachers like Gladys, these women have the opportunity to transform their future and the future of their children. “Today we are us,” says Glady with strength. This group is also mobilizing to get small loans to enable themselves to launch a business and improve their economic condition and general quality of life.


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