In honor of International Women’s Day this year, we are profiling 3 incredible women who inspire us. In their own way, each one is showing the world that women hold the keys to change and progress. They are leading their communities to prosperity, championing cultural heritage and fighting for indigenous rights.
Photo: Nobel Peace Center
Rigoberta, is an incredible inspiration to the people of Guatemala, and indigenous communities across the globe. We were inspired by reading her book in college and learning of her life struggles in a small community in Northern Guatemala. As a young person, she campaigned against the violence perpetrated by the Guatemalan army during the country’s 36-year civil war and through it continued to champion indigenous rights and indigenous feminism. She also formed an indigenous political party, traveled to other countries to share the voice of women like her and was the fact of the plight of indigenous communities in her country.
A women with great courage and an unflagging spirit, Rigoberta was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Her work and dedication to promoting indigenous rights is a true inspiration for us. We recommend her book "I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala", that reflects the experiences common to many Indian communities in Latin America today.
LIBIA GRUESO, COLOMBIAN ACTIVIST
" It’s a long personal story, but many like myself are conscious that if we don’t assume the defense of our culture, the defense of our territory, the defense of nature and our environment, not only will the culture disappear but also the nature associated with that culture. I’ve had a variety of experiences that have made me conscious of the importance of our region, and how it is threatened by so-called development."
YOLANDA, EMBERA CHAMI ARTISAN
Yolanda, is one of our artisan artist weavers, an incredible inspiration to the Embera Chami people, and indigenous communities across the globe. She is a leader in her community and an incredible powerhouse of personal and physical strength. She did not attend school, nevertheless, she worked hard and learned to speak and write in Spanish on her own encouraging her children to attend school. Yolanda was born and raised in a small community near el Dovio, Colombia.
As a young person she campaigned for indigenous feminism. Now living in a small one bedroom home close to the city center to provide her children with education. She returns to the community reserve (about 2 hours away) on the weekends to teach other young girls the art of beading and continue to cultivate her culture. We are thankful for the amazing, strong women who help bring together the vision for Lele Bombe.