Stories of Change
- Single Mothers Struggle for Self-Reliance and Dignity -
Gloria (name changed) is a single mother with two children. She is a school dropout and has no job and neither an income.
Gloria is an example of many single women in the slum districts of Medellín, Colombia. They have to cope with a wide range of difficulties pertaining to human rights, which, in turn, are all related to underlying economic issues. Lack of basic education, poor health, discrimination and subordination resulting in neglect from their partner as well as domestic violence, forced displacement, and lack of respect by the community – all of which are factors that impact negatively on single women’s self-esteem. Medellín is one of the Colombian cities with the highest level of inequality, as well as of domestic and community violence. In all of the poor suburbs of Medellín, unofficial landlords fight each other to stake their claim over the territory. Teenagers in the poorest suburbs are at high risk to be drawn into criminal gangs, drug cartels or criminal political groups. Hundreds of people displaced by force or for economic reasons arrive every day in the city, mainly women with small children.
With the help of SOFIA, an NGO called Fundación Opción Futuro commits to address these problems, empowering local women by means of income-generating activities. The project targets young displaced single mothers who have come from the countryside to the urban slums of Medellín. The project offers them training in the production and sale of handicrafts – mainly costume jewelry and patchwork items – and in acquiring essential business skills for their economic advancement. Furthermore, they are supported in their personal development by solidarity groups and are empowered through the Social Cooperative “Solidarité”, which carries out the merchandising of their products.
With this venture SOFIA collaborates with our donors, helping 300 persons in many families to live a dignified life. The success of this venture leads to open many more such cooperative societies to help single women live an uncompromised life.