Archbishop MacDonald Catholic High School in Alberta, Canada became a CMMB partner in 2017. The students of the International Mindedness (IM) Club selected us as one of the beneficiaries for their annual basketball marathon event  and we’ve been collaborating every since. This year, among many other goals, the IM club is committed to building awareness among their student population. 

These students recently had a very unique opportunity to speak directly with some of the women – beneficiaries – of our economic empowerment project in Peru. CMMB in Peru knows that including women in entrepreneurial activities not only benefits their families financially but also provides a source of empowerment for a group who is often left out of the economic sphere.

The students prepared and translated questions and Mariana – a Peruvian student in the IM club – took the lead conducting the Skype interview in Spanish. The results of this conversation is shared here.

A conversation between Archbishop MacDonald students and Peruvian women

(left) Mariana conducts the interview. (middle) The mothers answer questions.

Mariana: We’ve been looking forward to this for a while, and we are so excited to finally be in contact with you!

What does a typical work day look like for you?

We spend four hours a day working, and it allows us to spend more time with our families, particularly our children – time that we would not have had before.

What has the economic empowerment program done for you/how has it affected your life?

The economical support was unbelievable, and it resulted in more income. We see the progress and the change in their children, even if it’s with just a simple pair of sandals, fruit or supplies. Our children are our motivation-  the reason for everything we work and have worked for. By receiving this support, we feel more independent and are really proud to be working for ourselves.

What did your life look life before entering the program?

We felt overwhelmed and stressed, it was almost like a constant feeling as though their lives were going to remain as it was, unchanging. We felt as though there were no solutions at the time, almost like our situation was helpless.

How has it affected your life/your children’s life in being able to make your own money/living?

We now have the opportunity to spend more time with their children. We are also more than satisfied with the opportunities their children are now being provided with, it is going to change their future!

Now that you have this source of income/opportunity, how does that change your family status and the way you look at your future?

The income has helped us visualize a better future for ourselves and our children through new independence, and to believe that we can finally achieve what they aim for.

What are your ambitions and dreams?

I (one of the mothers) aim to own my own business to give the same opportunities to others- other women who went through/are going through what I did. It has inspired me to give the same aid to people in the same position she was in.

What particular part of the program is most helpful to you?

The economic support, and seeing the results of our efforts has been extremely encouraging. Workshops (in Esperanza), helped us value ourselves as mothers and women, and shifts the feeling of dependence, when we did not feel equal, and were depending on their husbands for everything, waiting instead of working and doing things themselves.

What more can we do as youth to further develop the program?

We  would like youth to recognize what we are doing, and us and our complex situations as individuals. To understand our situation and what we have done to achieve that we have achieved. Selling the products we have worked so hard to put together is also another encouraging way of supporting us.

What kind of future do you see your children having now and how does that compare to what they would have had without it?

We now believe they have more opportunities.  We can truly believe there are solutions to issues we had previously thought to be unresolvable. We now feel proud, excited, happy and grateful for the support!  

Student Voice: What Was this Experience Like for You?

Kathleen is a student at Archbishop MacDonald and a member of the International Mindedness club.

Kathleen O’Keefe: ‘It was an incredible experience to interact with the women who we are and have been helping for the past two years. Being able to attach faces and to hear first hand accounts of the individual experiences and thoughts of the women in Peru was not only enlightening but a true privilege.’

Abigail is a student at Archbishop MacDonald and a member of the International Mindedness club.

Abigail Isaac: ‘It really put into perspective how tangible, impactful, and necessary the work we are doing is to the people- women, in particular,  that we are trying to support. Being able to directly communicate with the women makes our efforts seem even more real that we had originally thought…. Coming in contact with people in a completely different part of the world, but who you still are connected to, completely changes the game for the way that I think youth in our club are going to start looking at our initiatives and their importance going forward.’

Angelina is a student at Archbishop MacDonald and a member of the International Mindedness club.

Angelina Bustos: ‘I think it was just an incredibly eye-opening experience. I got to see that what I was doing all the way over here in Canada was actually making a difference, and I got to hear it directly from the women themselves.’  

Adrian is a student at Archbishop MacDonald and a member of the International Mindedness club.

Adrian Wattamaniuk: ‘It really allowed me to realize that the initiatives we do are having a real impact on real people. Understanding the lives of others is a strong motivator to drive change.’  

Osas is a student at Archbishop MacDonald and a member of the International Mindedness club.

Osas Omogiate: ‘It’s great to see that the work we are doing here has had a positive impact on these amazing women and I hope we can continue to support and empower them. I admire CMMB and the work that they do, and am extremely excited that our partnership has been able to provide these ladies, along with their talents, the tools they need to provide for themselves and their families.’  


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