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I am the Hope for Change…

“I see my role in the SERES network represented by the color green…to me, it means that I am the hope for change. Two months ago my father said that he finally realized that I can fly as far as I want…to me, that means freedom.”

I am the first-born of the family and as a woman, it was not easy to have my family’s permission to leave my daily responsibilities in the home. This has been the biggest barrier in my pathway as a leader. One day in 2016 I received an invitation from the municipality of Tecpán to participate in a program called “Actívate” run by an organization called SERES. At that point of time in my life, I had no interaction with society. I rarely left the house. Now that I think about it I realize that I I felt deprived of freedom. During those three days in the program, what struck me most was seeing other young indigenous women just like me running the program and I remember that I told myself: I want to be like them. They inspired me.

As a young indigenous woman, SERES programs have helped me become more responsible, and increase my sense of self-worth. I know now that I have rights and I feel empowered and confident in myself to claim my rights and make my own decisions.Now I feel I have so many more opportunities. SERES has provided me with a family that supports me, and a safe space for learning and training. Because of this, my life has changed drastically.

I am currently leading in different spaces in my community and beyond. These include with a group of women entrepreneurs in Tecpán, a youth group  known as “Yum Kax”, as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Institute of Tecpán, and a member of the AgriJoven network for young farmers. For me, leadership means going hand-in-hand with other people who have the same mindset to create change, and supporting them in what they need so that they too can grow. The skills that SERES has taught me that most help me to achieve this are deep listening, strategic questioning, being patient, self-control and tolerance. I have been in conflict situations in the community, and have used these strategies to mediate and find peaceful resolution.

Photo: Flor’s mother, younger sister and brother preparing lunch.

Recently I returned from El Salvador (my first trip outside Guatemala) where I participated in a  three month course with SERES’ partner Global Platform, learning how to build movements and develop campaigns for change. I never imagined that I could have had the privilege to develop myself in that way with the full economic and emotional support of my family – especially my father. In that moment, I realized that I was free to fly wherever I want, and I can leave the house without feeling guilty. Now I want the same for my younger sisters – I want to see them capable and confident of being themselves.

My next project will be to facilitate workshops for young children to learn about sustainability, so that the next generation in my community continues its transformation towards a better future for all. In five years from now, I see myself as the owner of the best bakery in the region and taking responsibility for caring for the municipal nursery that will include trees for reforestation and medicinal plants.

“The more leadership we have in Tecpán, the stronger the threads with which we can weave a more resilient community.”

Photo from left to right: Flor, Lesley, Audrey and Abigail – the four young women involved in the Tecpán Hub with Mojit Nagpal, COO from Pro Mujer.

Flor Morales was recently selected as one of two Fellows who will be leading our new pilot Youth Resilience Hub in Tecpán in collaboration with Pro Mujer. You can learn more about this project here or by following SERES on Facebook @ SERESProject.

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