Ashaninka Poniro’s leadership qualities started to emerge when Nely Marcos (now a national leader) delivered workshops with Chirapaq, The Hunger Project’s (THP’s) partner organization in Peru, in her community of Yavirironi. Her community then elected her as their delegate to participate with Chirapaq in other workshops in Peru. She started at age 29. That was six years ago.
“I did not know these things before, and did not know how to behave…With Nely, I learned many things, but [with Chirapaq] I learned to see more. I learned that women could be authoritative, and could be leaders as well as men. I’m proud because I was chosen to be part of my children’s school after I was appointed municipal agent of my district. Even my husband now supports my participation.”
Ashaninka noted that the training she received has enabled her to grow as a person, mother and wife.
“Before, I did not know how to help my children with their homework, and I felt bad. But now, I work closely with them and learn with them. Now, they get better grades in school, and teachers are very fond of them. The community selected one of my children to participate in a health workshop run by Chirapaq. There, she learned things that had not been taught in school. I told her to help Chirapaq make a campaign for girls her age, to give them the knowledge to prevent sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) and underage pregnancy. I told her that I would support her in this.”
Ashaninka points out that her training is shared at home with her husband and children.
“Before, my husband did not want me to be a leader, but now I am a leader of the community and our life is improving. I feel happy because we discuss and consult with one another on every decision – what we sow, when to eat. I can now go anywhere without worrying about what I’m going to say.”
December 10, 2009