POSTED April 29, 2021
Empowering women to break barriers and lead their own success
Find out how Children Believe is providing support to female entrepreneurs in Nicaragua
By Enmanuel Castro, communications manager, Nicaragua
“There you go to training again; you should stay home cooking!”
This is the typical reaction by men in Nicaragua when women try to improve their skills by attending training and classes. But change is coming to communities, thanks to a project called Organized Women Making Changes for their Personal and Social Empowerment. Organizers say to break a culture of male chauvinism and violence, men and women have to work together to end harmful attitudes formed over generations.
Maria del Carmen, a volunteer leader in the program, says “machista” culture, male-dominant thinking, restricts women from achieving their dreams. Many women suffer from different forms of violence: domestic, verbal, emotional and economic. This abuse of power in relationships causes many women to lose hope and feel trapped, which often affects their children.
“Sometimes we need someone who believes in what we can accomplish to cheer us on so we can achieve it,” Maria del Carmen says. This is where Children Believe has made a difference.
The project has helped 50 women improve their lives and support their families. Of these, 19 started business ventures, thanks to seed capital from Children Believe.
Of great significance is the fact that 30 men have participated in workshops with a goal to end machista culture.
“Sometimes the levels of violence are strong, and I don’t mean only physical violence, but psychological,” explains Maria. “There is a belief women cannot achieve more — that they won’t have the needed support to start something new like entrepreneurship, and that’s hard. The workshops have changed this for these men.”
Through the program, the female participants are experiencing higher self-esteem, learned self-care, entrepreneurship and business strategies. Workshops on new masculinities have helped men understand the rights of women. Now husbands are joining their entrepreneurial wives in the adventure, supporting them and seeing them with fresh eyes for what they can accomplish.
“We’re capable, and we’re an inspiration for change,” says Maria.