“Laura Smith” Women´s Group, Sacacoyo, Dept. of La Libertad
Sacacoyo is a municipality in the department of La Libertad, one in which average rural families do not have permanent jobs; just sporadically during the coffee harvesting season earning around $90.00 a month, which does not even cover the costs of the basic food basket.
The name of the community is “Father Mauricio Merino,” the name of a catholic priest from the “Order of the Paulino Priests,” who worked with the community for various years as the parish priest. Father Merino gave them special attention and formation, converting them into active agents and a Christian Base Community, conscious of their reality, and always motivated them to make a commitment to their social transformation.
The priest is no longer with them, but the community has taken this work for themselves and after 14 years, they continue to be active in their pastoral development and work, their community organization, and their strong commitment to the poor.
Out of community reflections emerged the initiative to form a group of women committed to the well being of the community and who seek to form and train themselves in production in order to generate an income that can contribute to the alleviation of the effects of poverty in their towns and communities.
On their journey, they counted on the special and significant accompaniment of a woman named Laura Smith, who helped them consolidate their economic initiative and covert them into artisanal women specialized in the production of candy, salsas, and cards.
The collective decided to name itself the “Laura Smith Women´s Group,” in honor and recognition of this volunteer´s work and accompaniment in the consolidation and process of this collective.
The group consists of 12 rural women between the ages of 18 and 60, who have been organized for 6 years. In the last two years, they have specialized in the elaboration of artisanal products such as cards made from natural flowers and vegetable fibers, different types of typical drinks, a variety of candy, salsas, and baskets made from vegetable fiber. In the middle of 2013, they decided to name their entrepreneur effort “Flor y Canto,” —United in a New Song for the Prosperity of the Community.
This group is characterized by their maintenance of a spirit of solidarity towards the most needy in their community; they now allocate part of their earnings to give a monthly basic food basket to the elderly, to give some youth the fare to get to school, and to cover the cost of some consultations, medicines, and surgeries for adults within the community.