Celebrating Plant With Purpose
Women on International Women’s Day
Written by Plant With Purpose on March 8, 2016 in General
By Tandy Johnson
International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women. Women have made great progress in the search for liberation and equal rights; they have been trailblazers and active community members since the beginning of time yet until recently have gone greatly unrecognized for their contributions. Women in rural communities however, still live at a distinct disadvantage.
But we see hope taking root. Women are taking a seat at the table, finding their voice, and initiating projects in their communities. Teaching one woman impacts an entire community, which ultimately uplifts the whole of society. The majority of participants in Plant With Purpose savings groups are women—68 percent to be exact. These women become entrepreneurs, small business owners, and community leaders. We celebrate women like Mireya Miguel López today as they work to change their lives, the future of their families, and their entire communities.
Traditionally, the community members of Río Garza, Mexico grew just enough beans and corn to survive. Without the proper tools to manage their finances, they struggled to save enough money to provide for their families or send their children to school. But the women of Río Garza have an overlapping dream—to see their children go to school and build stable lives. Along with economic concerns and growing environmental issues, conflict within the community made education an even more unattainable dream.
Over this past decade, Plant With Purpose has partnered with Río Garza and has seen the community overcome obstacles. Mireya Miguel López always wanted her children to have the opportunities she was never given but did not know how to afford the education needed for them to thrive in the village. Since becoming a partner with Plant With Purpose, she has learned business techniques, sustainable farming practices, and most importantly how to save for schooling. Mireya started a microenterprise business and now has an income from her handmade embroidered napkins and tablecloths. Those funds are put toward school supplies and shoes for her six children.
Along with the education received from the local school, Mireya teaches her children the lessons learned from Plant With Purpose including the value of planting trees. She shares, “My children also reforest, I encourage them to care for the environment.” Passing down these skills and knowledge on how to care for the environment, the next generation will be equipped to uplift their community.
“Plant With Purpose has taught me to share and to live with people. They taught me to value myself, to face my fears, and help people when I can.” – Mireya
Women throughout the community have taken steps to educate themselves and their families and as a result have become active participants in Río Garza. Women gather to make the handicrafts they sell at market. When they are not discussing personal matters, they talk about improving their community. Mireya says, “At craft meetings we talk about our environment because trees are what give us pine for handicrafts.” During the crafting meetings, the women plan community events and ways to help people in need. Mireya expresses, “We support the community with events like ‘Celebrate Moms’ and we rely on the nursing home when someone is sick. We support the community residents.” The Río Garza women build relationships and celebrate successes with one another instead of being in conflict over a scarcity of resources.
Mireya is thriving in her community and reports back, “Plant With Purpose has taught me to share and to live with people. They taught me to value myself, to face my fears, and help people when I can.”
You can empower women as they work to change their lives, the future of their families, and their entire communities. Consider sponsoring a village today!