Fe y Esperanza (Las Mesas)

“Fe y Esperanza” Women´s Group, Las Mesas, dept. La Libertad

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The women of Fe y Esperanza live in the community of Las Mesas located in the municipality of the Port of La Libertad, in the department (state) of La Libertad. Las Mesas is home to 24 families who received the land during the repopulation process after the armed conflict in El Salvador.

Father Joaquín López y López, one of the UCA martyrs, secured this land for the families, and he accompanied them in their journey as a Christian Base Community. Las Mesas had been associated with the CEBs movement before and during the armed conflict.

Today, the families in this community live in extreme poverty (earning less than $1.00 a day) and in evident social isolation. They don’t have access to public services such as a health clinic, potable water, quality infrastructure, etc.

Las Mesas is a rural community: the men work the land while the women take care of the children, do domestic chores and produce small artisan crafts. Despite the fact they work as farmers, the people of Las Mesas don’t have enough food or nutrients for the whole year. This is due to the water shortage, especially during the dry season. The government has not been able to provide them with adequate social services.

However, in the midst of this reality, with the accompaniment of FUNDAHEMR, the community has strengthened their organizational capacity: they have a board of directors, a women´s committee, a youth group, and a pastoral team.

Fe y Esperanza is a group of seventeen rural women between the ages of 19 and 60, who work in the domestic realm and support the family’s agricultural labors. The group was founded in 2004. The women produce honey, shampoo, and soap in addition to running a small community store.

The income generated by Fe y Esperanza is distributed at the end of the year equally amongst the entire group and supports emergency needs of the community. Using this money, the women created a community first-aid kit, they support transportation to the clinic, and they maintain a fund for pregnant women. Fe y Esperanza also finances water and electricity in the communal house.

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