As a woman with experience in the construction trade, I am thrilled to learn about the Nicaraguan grassroots program, Mujeres Constructoras, where women are educating other women in the trades. Teaching construction skills to women contributes to building a community of interdependent and independent women. Women are strong community builders and what better way to build than with hammers and saws? In the example above, women used the skills they learned, to rebuild homes for single mothers after Hurricane Mitch rampaged across Nicaragua. This demonstrates the ability of women to work together for the benefit of all. When women learn to use the tools and life skills they need, and grow empowered to problem solve, they become a solution. They not only make changes that tremendously impact their own lives, and those of their families and communities, they also extend a helping hand to other women in need.
Learning new skills is an empowering personal experience bringing hope that change is possible. Since illiteracy generates vulnerability and promotes dependence, new skills can mean the difference between livelihood and poverty, even life or death. Education helps women gain an understanding of the world. It opens their eyes to a greater consciousness, not only about their lives, but the lives of others. Placing tools in the hands of skilled women makes change possible. This is what Amanda Centeno Espinoza has accomplished by establishing Mujeres Constructoras. There, women reach out to other women at a grassroots level to pass along knowledge and skills, a key element for restoring lost hope and building strong community. These precious gifts that women give each other will help to change humanity.