Accompanying Women in Psychosocial Work and Creating Connections in Montes de Maria

A Breeze of Hope ~ Home

PaxWorks began to support A BREEZE OF HOPE in 2016. The need for a residential facility to shelter girls who have been sexually abused is urgent. PaxWorks made the first (and our largest grant ever), as down payment for this building.

Sembrandopaz, Sincelejo, Colombia

Asociación Sembrando Semillas de Paz, ’Sembrandopaz’, is a non-profit civil entity, legally founded in 2005, but based on nearly twenty years of previous work. We are dedicated to facilitating the construction of a culture of peace, building capacity among grassroots organizations, with the goal of supporting processes of integral and sustainable human development within the peasant populations of the Caribbean region in Colombia who are victims of the armed conflict. Sembrandopaz is committed to creative transformation of holistic life plans that are sustainable, fair, and nonviolent, through pedagogical empowerment. Sembrandopaz works on the Caribbean coast of Colombia most closely in the provinces of Sucre and Bolívar, in a mountainous, rural, agricultural region known as the Montes de Maria.

Two parts of Sembrandopaz’s work are trauma healing and making connections between communities in the region. We have specifically supported the community of Mampujan in trauma healing through a group of women who learned to tell their stories, create a system of support, and process their trauma though sewing tapestries. As the process of healing continued, the women decided that they wanted to use the new skills as a creative way to support their families and generate resources. Because of this idea the women now sell their tapestries and are branching out into other types of sewing projects as well.

This past year, Sembrandopaz was able to create a space in which the women from Mampujan traveled to another community, Pichilin, to share their story of healing and the method of processing trauma. The exchange was empowering as well as healing as the space was totally lead by the women. It also provided a way for two communities involved in the struggle for their rights and reparations to connect and motivate each other. It was a beautiful space. This experience complimented a history documenting process that the women in Pichilin were already carrying out. Through the documentation and the tapestry making, the women formed a solid group and are very interested in continuing to fortify the space.

A third community, the High Mountain region, in the Montes de Maria, has recently opened up a space for participation specifically for women. This region has an organized movement called the Peace Movement of the High Mountains in which there are women participants, however, the leaders came to Sembrandopaz with the idea of opening up a space in which women specifically had the opportunity to share. While this is a new space, the idea is the same: provide support through trauma healing and connection making.

In Sembrandopaz it is important to us to continue providing these spaces of sharing, growing, healing, empowerment, and motivation for these women in all of the communities that we accompany. We hope in the future to be able to have the resources to continue facilitating spaces to talk about identity, conflict resolution, business skills, and the sharing of their healing methods and the empowering of women to be the ones that teach them.

Projects with Women:

Monthly meetings with women: between $50 and $400 each meeting (travel, snack, materials) (the reason the range is so large is because the women of the High Mountain region need to travel to come to the meetings, whereas in the other communities, just the facilitator needs to travel) ($500 x 12 = $6000)

Exchanges between women of two communities: between $500 and $2000 (travel, food, materials) (again, the range is large because the cost depends on where the exchange takes place, who is involved, and the number of participants) (3 per year = $3000)

Total budget: $9000

Student Collaboration Projects:

In 2016, two student collaboration projects were started, one in Pichilín and one in Libertad.  The young female leaders are motivated to continue and finish these two projects this year (one is a soccer tournament for ALL the kids in the community ages 5-12 years old; the other is a dance group to help being back traditional dances that the younger generations have not practiced to get in touch with their heritage once again).  This year we also want to encourage the kids group in Mampuján continue with their awesome work of investigating the history of their community as it was before their displacement.  Also, we hope to include two new communities in the process this year: Zambrano has already begun with a project that creates a safe and fun place for kids to hang out when not in school using their budget to buy games and sports equipment that will call attention to kids that usually hang out in the street; and in Córdoba where we know a very motivated female leader who has just begun as a Scout leader and is interested in using the process of the Student Collaboration Project to develop leadership skills and opportunities in the young girls.

Student Collaboration Projects Planned for 2017 already with budget
Date Community Project Budget Responsible
Oct-16 Pichilín Soccer Championship 500,000 Leanna
Jan-17 Zambrano Children’s Games 500,000 Lani
2017 Libertad Traditional Dances 500,000 Albin
2017 Mampuján Tapestries of History 500,000 Lweendo
2017 Córdoba Round 1 500,000 Lani
2017 Pichilín Round 3 500,000 Leanna
Total 3,000,000  

We hope that each of these projects will continue into new projects with new young female leaders and the experienced young leaders mentoring.  Ideally in this year of 2017 we hope that two processes can be carried out in each of the five communities.  We still count on resources that were sent last year in order to accompany all of the girls to do a first project, however, in order to do the second we would need 2,000,000 pesos more (about $670). Another idea for this year would to be host another exchange in which girls from the different processes can get together, share the projects that they have developed, learn from each other, and build relationships across communities.  We were able to host one of the young girl leader exchanges in 2015 and it was a super success.  The budget for an exchange would be about 2,000,000 pesos including food, transportation, and materials.  The ideal would be to do this exchange in Sembrandopaz´s farm near Sincelejo.  In order to implement all of this, Sembrandopaz would require 4,000,000 pesos more for the year 2017 (or about $1,330).

Student Collaboration Projects 2017 needing funding  
Date Community Project  Budget Responsible
2017 Zambrano  Round 2 500,000 Lani
2017 Libertad  Round 2 500,000 Albin
2017 Mampuján  Round 3 500,000 Lweendo
2017 Córdoba  Round 2 500,000 Lani
2017 All communities  Young Leadership Exchange 2,000,000 Lani
Total 4,000,000

En 2016 se iniciaron dos proyectos de colaboración estudiantil, uno en Pichilín y otro en Libertad. Las jóvenes lideresa femeninas están motivadas para continuar y terminar estos dos proyectos este año (uno es un torneo de fútbol para TODOS los niños en la comunidad de edades 5-12 años de edad, el otro es un grupo de danza para rescatar los bailes tradicionales que las generaciones jóvenes no han practicado para volver a su cultura tradicional una vez más). Este año también queremos animar al grupo de niños en Mampuján a continuar con su impresionante trabajo de investigar la historia de su comunidad y cómo fue antes de su desplazamiento. Además, esperamos incluir dos nuevas comunidades en el proceso este año: Zambrano ya ha comenzado con un proyecto que crea un lugar seguro y divertido donde los niños pueden pasar  tiempo cuando no están en la escuela, usando su presupuesto para comprar juegos y equipo deportivo que llama la atención a los niños que suelen pasar el tiempo libre en la calle; y en Córdoba donde conocemos a una lideresa femenina muy motivada que acaba de comenzar como lideresa de los Scout y está interesada en usar el proceso del Proyecto de Colaboración Estudiantil para desarrollar habilidades de liderazgo y oportunidades en las niñas.

Proyectos de Colaboración Estudiantil para el 2017 ya con presupuesto
Fecha Comunidad Proyecto Presupuesto Responsible
Oct-16 Pichilín Campeonato de Fútbol 500,000 Leanna
Enero-17 Zambrano Juegos de Niños 500,000 Lani
2017 Libertad Danza Tradicional 500,000 Albin
2017 Mampuján Tapices de Historia 500,000 Lweendo
2017 Córdoba Ronda 1 500,000 Lani
2017 Pichilín Ronda 3 500,000 Leanna
Total 3,000,000  
Esperamos que cada uno de estos proyectos continúe en nuevos proyectos con nuevas lideresas jóvenes y las lideresas con experiencia actuando como mentoras.  Idealmente en este año de 2017 esperamos que se puedan llevar a cabo dos procesos en cada una de las cinco comunidades. Todavía contamos con recursos que fueron enviados el año pasado para acompañar a todas las chicas a hacer un primer proyecto, sin embargo, para hacer el segundo necesitamos 2.000.000 de pesos más (alrededor de $ 670). Otra idea para este año sería organizar otro intercambio en el que las niñas de los diferentes procesos puedan reunirse, compartir los proyectos que han desarrollado, aprender unas de otras y construir relaciones entre las comunidades. Tuvimos la oportunidad de realizar uno de los intercambios de jóvenes lideresas en 2015 y fue un éxito estupendo. El presupuesto para un intercambio sería de aproximadamente 2.000.000 de pesos incluyendo alimentos, transporte y materiales. Lo ideal sería hacer este intercambio en la finca de Sembrandopaz cerca de Sincelejo. Para implementar todo esto, Sembrandopaz requeriría 4.000.000 pesos más para el año 2017 (o cerca de $ 1.330).

Proyectos de Colaboración Estudiantil 2017 que necesitan fondos

Fecha Comunidad Proyecto Presupuesto Responsible
2017 Zambrano  Ronda 2 500,000 Lani
2017 Libertad  Ronda 2 500,000 Albin
2017 Mampuján  Ronda 3 500,000 Lweendo
2017 Córdoba  Ronda 2 500,000 Lani
2017 Todas las comunidades  Intercambio de Lideresas Jóvenes 2,000,000 Lani
Total 4,000,000 $1,500