Treasurer in Training
Following the Peace Accords at the end of the war in 1992 ex guerrillas were given land in El Zompopero, which means a big ant, in the Municipality of Jiquilisco southern El Salvador. It turned out not to be the best quality land and an area at risk from natural disasters. Their first attempts at making a viable salt gathering business failed. But today, after many setbacks, both financial and environmental, they have created a thriving shrimp farm. All this has been possible through their hard work and support from Christian Aid partner PROCARES. This support has included helping with business and marketing plans and training and capacity development.
The Verde Mar co-operative is made up of 60% men and 40% women. They have women board members too. Women are encouraged to further their education and have opportunities to learn useful skills such as accounting.
Ana Virginia Valladares has received accountancy training and is now the Verde Mar co-operative’s treasurer. She lives in San Hilario with her 6 children, 3 girls and 3 boys. The youngest is 8 years old. She spoke of enjoying the training and said with a wry smile;
“It was a good experience, although it was difficult at times.” Ana explained the small differences that are happening in their society and the role of women within it. “There is a difference with the men. They take us into consideration and are more careful about the way they treat us.”
Both men and women in the co-operative have received gender training but this is an ongoing process to turn around many years of male dominance. With memories of men and women fighting and working together as “campañeros” during the war, the future must be hopeful.
Ana worships at a local Catholic Church. When asked if she had a message to give to the people supporting Christian Aid, through Commitment for Life, she said, “I want to say thank you for supporting us. We will change our lives with hard work.” Ana offered a prayer too:
”Please pray for the poor people so that their lives may improve. We need peace in this country. Please pray that the violence will stop.”
Commitment for Life Newsletter – February 2015
Author: David Wiggs
I am the webmaster for Purley United Reformed Church and have been involved with the church since my late teens. I work in Croydon and live in Caterham.