Two projects by friends of this blog are currently raising funds on the IndieGoGo site in order to tell the histories of remarkable women in El Salvador.
Mujeres de la Guerra, Historias de El Salvador is the work of Lyn McCracken and Tedde Simon, who are working to document in film and photos the stories of strong women who came of age during El Salvador's bloody civil war. From their description of the project:
Mujeres de la Guerra documents the lives, stories and work of twenty-eight women leaders in El Salvador. Through a documentary film, photography exhibits in both the US and El Salvador, and a photo essay book, we hope to provide these women with the opportunity to tell their inspiring stories and share their hope, wisdom and dedication with the world....
Before the war, these very young women saw the need to organize with their communities in defense of their rights. As the repression and violence worsened, some women helped their communities and families to flee, to refugee camps or the remote mountains. Others joined the insurgent guerilla forces, as cooks, as medics, in radio communications, in press and propaganda, and taking up arms to fight for their rights.
The women tell stories about losing their homes, their family members, the scorched earth campaigns – losing crops, livestock, food and livelihood – the massacres, the repression. Fleeing with their children into the mountains, suffering from hunger, fear and tropical storms.
Their stories are painful, hard to hear.
At the same time, the war was a school for many of them, a place where they learned to read, write, and find their voice. Today, these women organize their communities to create opportunities for everyone, to work for access to basic rights, to empower women and teach young people. Their courage, resilience, and perseverance, their hope in a better tomorrow, their ability to “seguir adelante,” continue forward in even the darkest of times, are deeply inspiring.Support Mujeres de la Guerra here.
CoMadres: Women with ordinary lives doing extraordinary things is the project of Inez and Ruby Steigerwald. They seek to tell the story of this remarkable organization of women:
The Comité de Madres (Co-Madres, Committee of Mothers) is a human rights organization formed in the mid-1970’s. Co-Madres was founded to aid the victims and families of disappearances, murders, and political imprisonment from 1977 through the 1990s. Their testimonies can teach us about the real cost of war and the strength of the human spirit in the face of gross disregard for the basic human rights of life and liberty....
The women of Co-Madres would like the people and the national government of El Salvador to honor this history and work to repair the wounds of war. They can tell this history based on their intimate involvement with human rights activism during the civil war. In 1984 Co-Madres was the first human rights organization to be recognized with the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for their work. Today, the members of Co-Madres are still working to obtain reparations for victims of the war and distribute information about the war to both Salvadoran residents and foreign visitors to El Salvador. They maintain the goal that the atrocities that occurred should never be forgotten, nor should they be allowed to happen again.
Despite over 30 years of faithful and dedicated work with the national and international human rights community, the history of Co-Madres has never been written in a comprehensive way.