In 2021, WJI expanded to two municipalities, reaching 24 new communities and deepening our impact. As part of this expansion, WJI is training a new cohort of Community Advocates, women who undergo two years of leadership training to serve as leaders, mentors, and women’s rights defenders in their communities.
Gloria is a new Advocate, and an energetic, and inspiring young woman from Pachitur, one of the 12 communities WJI serves in San Juan Comalapa. As a Community Advocate, Gloria dedicates herself to understanding the women in her community -- how they have been perpetually silenced and discouraged from reporting violence in their homes. She says that before participating in WJI’s programs, “a woman is afraid of her own voice.”
Gloria helps women in her community develop the confidence to seek help and report abuse. She says, “I want women to know they don’t have to withstand abuse. I want them to feel protected. I want them to feel like they are not alone.”
For Gloria, WJI’s Community Advocates Program was integral to transforming her understanding of human rights from a vague concept to a deep understanding of how her rights allow her to live with dignity and without fear. But most importantly, she sees herself as the starting point in helping her community to protect the rights of women and girls.
“I have to start with myself. Then I can encourage my mother, my sisters, and the rest of my family to know their rights and exercise them. I want to keep studying, have a career, and most importantly, be part of a community of brave women who want to help one another.”