FORMATION / WORKSHOPS
Along with the microloan training and experience, the other essential component of the Guatemala Microloan Project is the process of formation workshops.
Group sessions are designed to strengthen microloan participants individually as well as in their roles in the family, community, and society in general. Women are often lacking in formal education and basic information; through these monthly workshops they learn a lot and have fun! Examples of topics covered include self-esteem, nutrition, healthy cooking, sanitation, preventive health, gardening, and care for the environment.
Mildre leads a workshop on self-esteem to strengthen the women’s understanding of themselves as people of value, with rights and a voice in their family and community.
In addition to formation workshops led by Adehgua, some microloan participants were given the opportunity to participate in workshops led by other community organizations. Here six women share what they gained from their participation in these training events.
Juana and Rosa with neighbors of their community in the management for the paving of the street
Juana and Rosa worked on a project in their community at the end of 2021 as part of their work in the course, “Human Rights and Citizen Participation.” They identified the needs of their community; they prioritized the one that needed to be addressed, which is the completion of the paving of one of the main streets. They also shared the knowledge they had acquired in the course with other proactive people in their community to find a solution to the problem. They met with the board of directors of the Community Development Council to make a collective proposal. The community was organized, the proposal was presented to the municipal mayor; it was agreed that the community would finance part of the paving, and the municipality another part. They are currently about to start paving the street, thanks to the management and commitment of Juana and Rosa.
Training/Formation: Human Rights and Citizen Participation
“I benefited from this course because I learned something that I did not know; now I know about the laws that the Community Development Council must follow. I always shared with my family what I was learning. The people of the community admire everything we did to carry out our project, we continue in the struggle to be able to help our community”.
Training/Formation: Human Rights and Citizen Participation
“The course was very beneficial for me; I learned a lot and shared what I learned with my family and in my community. Now I belong to the Community Development Council of sector 5. For the project I worked together with Juana in the Alfaguat Diploma course”.
Training/Formation: Community Legal Promoter, Social Therapist for Primary Care, Self-support
“In addition to the activities that I already had in Adehgua, I have been given the space to participate in other training/formation processes where the objective is to empower women so that from our context we act and/or support other women with problems of violence in its various manifestations. My participation has helped me to acquire new knowledge and reaffirm the empowerment of myself. I have also been able to share about the work we do in our communities and in organizations of civil society. Despite the risk that it represents for a leader in the community if he or she speaks out against injustices, as has been the case in my experience as a woman and a family since our leadership has made us vulnerable, with the strength God gives us, we move ahead.”
Training/Formation: Self Support
“As a woman these courses have helped me a lot to get ahead; my self-esteem has improved. As a single mother, it has helped me to be better every day, to help my daughters and give them a better life”.
Training/Formation: Life Stories, Self-support, Human Rights and Citizen Participation
“I have learned to be an independent woman, I am struggling to have a different life, then to work together with other women and make history. I have acquired a lot of knowledge and experiences for my life, training/formation and I feel empowered as a woman. I have learned to live without violence”.
Ana is an elderly woman, belonging to the group of Aldea El Progreso. She didn't have the opportunity to go to school in her childhood; however, she values the Formation Project very much. Since she started the group in El Progreso she attends the meetings without fail; she is very participatory and committed. She has fun in each activity, enjoys them and learns new things. She also shares her wisdom and knowledge with other women. Almost always, workshops begin with a prayer, led by her.
Leonarda is the sister of Reyna, president of the El Progreso group. She started attending the healing workshops because Reyna invited her. She enjoys participating in the workshops and learning new things. She is regularly accompanied by her daughter of 5 years (she is the youngest, she has 2 older brothers) who participates in the activities.
Leonarda is not part of the El Progreso group, but hopes to join in the next cycle.
María is a mother of 4 children, all of school age, since the pandemic began she has manifested a lot of stress, concern, emotional charge due to the new modality of classes, which requires greater economic resources and greater accompaniment in schoolwork.
When the formation workshops resumed, she said she could not sleep at night, due to stress and worry. However, after the third healing workshop she said that she could already sleep, that the workshops had helped her to release her emotions and relax.
In the first healing workshop, one of Mary's daughters arrived. In that workshop the women made a self-massage. Now Maria asks her daughter to do a massage at night, to release tension and sleep better. In addition, to practice conscious breathing.
Conscious breathing is a very important tool that has been used with women for emotional regulation and relaxation.
She is an elderly woman, who did not have the opportunity to attend school. However, she actively participates in the workshops; it is rare that she is missing unless an emergency arises.
During the workshops, she shares her knowledge and wisdom. She does all the activities, such as coloring or cropping, even if they represent a challenge for her or even if it is the first time, she does it. She enjoys the workshops and comments that she does well to attend.
She is from the community of El Progreso. She is not part of the microloan project but was invited by women of the group. Her daughter Mary is a part-time member of the Adehgua team.
Arminda has attended two healing workshops. She comments: "The workshops are an important help, they have helped me a lot to relax, physically and emotionally. It would be good to help more women, no one knows how women live, it would be good to share it with more. If I am invited to another workshop, I am happy to go."
She is president of the Santo Domingo group and part of the Adehgua team. Apart from participating in the formation process, she has had the opportunity to train as a social therapist to help heal more women.
She has experienced many positive changes in her life, has improved her self-knowledge and empowerment, which allows her to project herself better in her family, her community and in the church.
She is a leader and accompanies women who suffer violence. The formation process, the microloan project, the opportunity to resume her studies at the university, has contributed greatly to strengthening her personal development.
She practices tools that allow her to have well-being, and also teaches them to her children.