MILPA continues building a women’s movement in Chiapas
Starting in 2018, our partners in Mexico hit the ground running with MILPA (a Spanish acronym for Indigenous Women for Leadership, Participation and Action).
The successes of this past year were fueled by the tireless energy of the intrepid and dedicated coordinator of MILPA, Sebastiana Aguilar. “Xapy,” as she is affectionately called, is a Tseltal woman from the region and a lawyer by training. She left her job working for the Ministry of Defense after witnessing how the Mexican court system fails indigenous women and children who have suffered violence.
Xapy focused her efforts on recruiting indigenous women throughout the region to serve as village promoters, advocates and mediators in their communities. These volunteers received training once a month to develop skills for conflict resolution, leadership, and advocacy. They also learned about gender and human rights defense and developed strategies for increasing the participation of women in community decision making as they prepare for another year of activism in 2019.
To mark the day for the Elimination for Violence Against Women in November, our MILPA partners organized marches throughout the region to promote their work in communities and to elevate women’s voices and advance their rights.
In other exciting news, Aida, a psychologist from Spain, has joined the MILPA team. She will spend the next year working with Xapy and the team of volunteer promoters to develop workshops and techniques for healing women who have suffered the trauma of violence. The team will first focus on healing women mediators who experience secondary trauma in their work resolving conflicts related to women and children who experience violence.
Thank you for supporting advancing the rights of women and children in 2018!