Exclusion is present in our society, that is a fact, and exclusion is getting worse for working class women with little or no education and who must take care of their households and children.
Our initiative with working class women started with the building of a relationship with Emmaus Resistencia and this relationship was gradually transformed into permanent voluntary work which has been running for 3 years. The group is full of working class mothers who are the pillars of their households and who know how to recycle and reuse materials and objects that others have thrown away.
The activities led with the group include the sorting, repairing and reusing of materials, clothes and objects in order to protect nature and the environment.
The work is voluntary but Emmaus shares any goods or other objects that they may need with these women. There are shared spaces to meet and discuss how to encourage/save the medical know-how passed down from our parents and grandparents about the treatment of certain diseases. Again, the goal of this is to return to a more harmonious relationship with nature and our bodies. Emmaus also provides guidance and information on any legal, family or social matters.
We think that these spaces, which are shared with children and other family members, are very important as they create a sense of belonging within the group and they increase self-esteem. For the women these spaces represent a place to turn to for help.
We have 10 women involved in this initiative as well as Emmaus companions, partners from the institution which runs the workshops and professionals from different sectors.
Shopkeepers, local donors and friends of the group who support this initiative. Sister Silvia from the Josefin congregation has a background in treating diseases using alternative medicine.
The first step was to meet with a collection association which survived based on this collection work.
The second stage was to discuss things together and to invite them to work together in Emmaus.
The third and final stage was to include other training-based activities in Emmaus.
The hope is that we can continue with these actions and encourage that women complete their education. We also hope to widen the scope with informative workshops about rights, birth control and important medical check-ups.
We think this space is an important one to share knowledge and experiences. No-one is teaching anyone else, we learn together as a community and each member offers their capabilities and experiences to everyone else.
Our successes include: an improvement of the collection work, organisation in the sector, increased income for 10 women and weekly resources to help them participate in their family’s income. We also think that creating a feeling of belonging to the group has been an important achievement.
Spreading the word about this initiative creates trusts amongst the shopkeepers and other donors. Knowing how their donations are used encourages them to donate more.
This initiative is about recognising dignity and human rights for all and especially for vulnerable groups who are suffering and who lack protection.
To look for new donors/members who sponsor and support this initiative.