Ensuring Human Rights in Chiapas, Mexico
As a young Rarámuri woman, Mirabel was motivated to enter Kari Igomari Niwara, an indigenous women's organization in the state of Chihuahua. Over the last 15 years this organization has carried out projects to develop and educate its members and their families about the importance of community in upholding their political, cultural and economic independence.
When she was 15, Maribel began to teach at Biniwa’ame Rarámuri Niwara, the first school under indigenous control in Mexico. The primary school utilizes an inclusive educational program that promotes the active participation of women in their own education and economic self-sufficiency.
Maribel has worked for many years towards the inclusion of gender equality in the Ministry of Education's books for indigenous people. Semillas' funding was used to develop new programs for the school, covering topics such as gender equity and prevention of addictions.
Specific outcomes of the project include:
• A 90% increase in the participation of girls in school activities traditionally considered masculine, such as basketball.
• A 90% increase in the participation of boys in tasks considered exclusively feminine, such as cleaning the common areas and the cafeteria.
• Ninety-six mothers and fathers attended 12 workshops and 50 of them actively participated in meetings with teachers.
• Thirty visits were made to families with school-age girls and 12 new girls enrolled in the school.
• There were no drop-outs among girls registered in the school.
"Semillas is an organization that believes in me, believes in indigenous women. It trusts that we can make changes for our daughters' futures, and it listens to women who have initiative. With Semillas I have learned to assert my rights and exercise them. Today, no old toothless man can teach me to chew gum," asserts Maribel, using a unique Mexican expression.