Meet the Sisterhood
of Community Healers
Ivette is beginning her fifth year of studies in English Language Translation and Interpretation. She coordinates the program's communications and historical memory projects. Additionally, in 2019 she completed a two-year intensive facilitation training for youth leaders. In 2020, Ivette moved into the community youth center to coordinate opportunities for youth to self-organize and use the space in a meaningful way. In her own words,
"The scholarship represents an important opportunity to become a change agent in Salvadoran society. It has provided me with a great deal of support, and I am committed to this journey of growth, knowing that others are supporting me."
Keiry is beginning her third year in Social Work. She had decided that university education was too daunting for her, but when she saw her fellow sisters joining Nueva Esperanza, she decided to do so as well. Keiry has been an active community leader since a very young age, and continues to grow in her leadership capacities.
She leads the community youth group (where she also received her own education as a youth organizer many years ago). She was recently elected to the local government in her community, and is serving as the youngest member in this governing body.
In her own words, "Being in the Nueva Esperanza sisterhood makes me feel accompanied and loved, because we are like one united family who support one another with everything and give one another feedback and love."
Michelle has been participating in classes at the Nueva Esperanza Community Center since she was 4 years old. She has been a leader both in her community and at the municipal level, advocating for opportunities for young people, whose needs are often overlooked.
Michelle is beginning her third year of her social work degree, and is a leader of the jóvenes en acción youth group, which she has been a part of for many years. She also leads the children's group, teaching social-emotional skills to her neighbors aged 5-8, including her little brother, Santiago.
In her own words, "Being a part of the Nueva Esperanza sisterhood has made me feel happy and loved, because we support one another, and help one another see the places we need to grow. We share our feelings, make one another laugh, and help out wherever we can."
Jacqueline is tremendously dedicated to the Nueva Esperanza sisterhood and to supporting her family and her community. She wanted to study nursing for many years, and had given up on that possibility when she became a mother. With the Nueva Esperanza sisterhood, she has reinvigorated this dream, and is now beginning her third year of nursing school.
She leads the community youth group and children's group, working to build her young neighbors' social-emotional skills.
Jacqueline is strengthened by the Nueva Esperanza sisterhood and stated, "My sisters give me so much love, support, advice, feedback, and trust. We understand and support one another. I feel an enormous joy in our sisterhood because they support me so well, and I feel proud of myself when I'm able to offer them my support and advice."
Araceli had wanted to be a lawyer for many years, and had let this dream go with the many difficulties that presented themselves in her journey. The Nueva Esperanza sisterhood encouraged her to re-embrace this dream and she choose to study law. She wants to have the skills to be able to serve the many people in her country who are unjustly incarcerated, which motivates her studies.
In her words, "The sisterhood has allowed me to make many new friends, since it is one of the places where I feel comfortable. We support one another emotionally and I feel really happy with my sisters."
The effects of historical and structural violence and oppression played out in Aracely's life in such a way that she needed to leave the country shortly after starting her degree. She remains a part of the Sisterhood, as do the dreams she started to put into action with us. We mourn the violence and the systems of oppression that mandate separation and uncertainty instead of robust, rooted, supported growth and transformation.
Stephany joined the sisterhood without knowing any of the other young women in Nueva Esperanza, since she is from a neighboring community without a history of youth organizing. She has integrated quickly into this new group of sisters, and stated:
"I feel good in the sisterhood because we've created strong ties with one another and we're able to offer one another support and encouragement."
Stephany leads the community youth group and has been among the most active community healers in prioritizing her own journey of trauma healing and personal transformation. She admits that she is an entirely different person than she was when she joined the program, and her flourishing is a source of inspiration to others in the youth group. She is in her third year of her journalism degree.
Lissette has been active as a community leader for a number of years. She is particularly gifted at inspiring young women by sharing the story of her life and the challenges she has overcome and those she is in the midst of overcoming.
She is beginning her third year ofsocial work degree, though she has practically been acting as a "social worker" without a degree for many years. She co-facilitates the women's group every Sunday, and is a model for her peers and neighbors through her self-confidence, grit, and leadership skills.
Brenda is beginning her first year in a degree in Public Relations. She has been involved in the youth group since she was young, and is now in a leadership position in the group.
When asked why she wanted to participate in this program, she stated, "I love learning new things and being a part of young people's lives and their processes of growth. I like learning more about the history of the people in my community. I like learning to share my own story, and to learn from the stories of those around me. "
Brenda will be leading the community youth group and taking part in the historical memory and community library initiative that is beginning this year.
Karen is beginning her first year in a Public Relations degree. She is eager to be a part of the program and has been an active leader in the youth group since it re-emerged several years ago.
She joined the program this year in her words, "Because I love being of service to the community. I love leading the youth group because we're able to learn new things together each week and support one another's growth. I am eager to support the community library project this year, as well, so that I can support people in being able to gain new experiences and knowledge through reading.