I am a Powerful Indigenous Woman!

Isadora* shares her story of being a young indigenous woman in Mexico.
February 26, 2018 - Mexico

"I know women can achieve what some think is impossible," Isadora*

Mexico is a culturally rich country: Over 12 million people are indigenous, which represents 10.1% of the national population. Of these, 51.1% are women, mainly housewives, and only one out of four attend school.

Isadora* is a Mixtec, 19-year-old indigenous woman who joined the NPH family along with her younger brother. They are from a community in the Guerrero Sierra, where the Mixtec language is spoken. It is the second poorest municipality in the country.

She defines herself as a brave, intelligent and dreamy young woman whom, despite the limitations of her culture towards women, has been able to succeed. For her, being a woman and being indigenous has meant limitation in her school, family and social life due to the customs of her culture, but that has not stopped her. “When I was a little girl, my father did not want me to study because he thought women had to take care of the house and do the chores, and that school was only for men… I never agreed with this; I thought differently. I wanted to study, thrive and have a profession,” Isadora says.

Isadora is currently studying her first year of high school, specializing in electronics, and is proud of her good grades. "Now my dad realizes that I have good grades, and he even encourages me to move forward. That motivates me because I managed to change his point of view."

Isadora knows she has a very different life compared to the other women in her family, and thus takes advantage of every opportunity NPH offers her to fulfill her dreams of being an engineer in industrial safety. “Before, girls in my family got married very young and didn’t go to school. Women in my town still can’t decide their own lives or whom they are going to marry. If a man wants to marry a girl, it is up to her parents to decide whether she marries or not, regardless of her opinion or if she loves him or not.”

One of NPH’s programs is called “Chicas Poderosas,” where girls are taught the value of being women, the importance of education, and above all, the value of being strong and independent.

“At NPH, they taught me that it’s not normal for someone else to decide about you, your body or your future, because it is your life and only you know what you want or like… I know that we as women can achieve what others think is impossible.”

Isadora believes that some Mixtec traditions must start to change without losing their cultural roots, especially those that exclude women. “I am very proud to be Mixtec, we have unique beliefs and celebrations. Culture is a heritage that our ancestors left us and we have to take care of it so it does not disappear.”

*Name changed for privacy purposes.

Vanessa Cruz   
Communication Officer

You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson




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