Osneylin and Aura are Inspiring Other Women in Their Community

By Yolanda Fletes – Micro-Credit Program Officer

Osneylin.

32-year-old Osneylin is originally from San Carlos, Rio San Juan. Today, she lives 45 minutes away from San Carlos, on a farm called Buenos Aires in the Ojo de Agua community. She is married to Gabriel who was raised in a farming family by his 61-year-old mother, Aura. Osneylin and Gabriel have a 10-year-old daughter named Anielka. Anielka travels one hour per day through the hills to get to school. Her parents want her to go live in the next town over with her grandmother so that she is closer to school, but they need to work to cover her expenses.

Osneylin is an exemplary woman in the community. Everyone greatly admires and respects her because she wakes up every day at 4 a.m. to make tortillas and prepare breakfast. With sacrifice and commitment, Osneylin’s entire family dedicates itself day by day to taking care of their farm.

Osneylin feeds the chickens and pigs before going to work in the field where she helps her husband plant. Nothing stands in her way; she has planted one manzana of bananas, ½ manzana of yucca, quequisque, sugar cane, avocado, pears, Nancites, lemons, oranges, mango, fruta de pan, granadillas, passion fruit, and coconuts. She also plants maize. Like many families in her community, knowledge about traditional maize planting is passed down from generation to generation.

Recently, Self-Help International’s Women’s Empowerment Program visited Ojo de Agua to promote its programs and resources. Self-Help’s Agriculture Program already had experience working with farmers in Ojo de Agua, led by a community leader named  Juan. Juan coordinated a community-wide meeting for men and women farmers, and at the meeting his seven-person farming group shared about its two-year experience planting Nutrader Quality Protein Maize (QPM) using Self-Help’s double-row technique.

After learning about this group’s experience with Self-Help, Osneylin decided to contact the Women’s Empowerment Program because she wanted to improve her farming practices. She wanted to join the program, so she, her husband and her daughter planted two manzanas of double-row maize. At first, Osneylin wanted to give up, but her daughter encouraged her to persist to improve their crop yields. Their family’s goal is to harvest 70 quintales (7,000 pounds) per manzana. With the profits they hope to gain, they will invest in their daughter’s education since she will be graduating 5th grade in 2022.

Aura, Osneylin’s mother-in-law,  also decided to use the double-row planting method for her maize in 2021. She is excited and motivated by this sowing method and reports that it is the first time she is planting in this way. She says the training she received from Self-Help motivated her to get ahead by improving her maize planting.

Aura and Osneylin Inspire Other Women in the Community

Osneylin on her land.

Aura and Osneylin have neighboring farms and share crop experiences, and the two women serve as examples in their community. They have motivated more women to empower themselves by planting Nutrader Quality Protein Maize and vegetables. They say that they make a good team working together as a family, and they are satisfied that they are leaders in double-row planting who show other women they can do the same and benefit more families with increased production.

They are willing to train other women who wish to implement this technique.They want all women in their community to be able to earn their own money, whether in production or marketing. Many of these women are mothers of families who want to give the best to their children, and they think employing this agricultural practice will have very good results.

In 2022, Osneylin and Aura have set a goal of helping two more community women implement Self-Help’s planting techniques, and they will train the women by sharing their learning experiences from 2021.

Osneylin and Aura want other women to be empowered due to their involvement in Self-Help’s agricultural program and women’s empowerment program. They attended Self-Help’s training sessions on Self-Esteem and Leadership; Business Management and Entrepreneurship; and Basic Accounting. For these training sessions, Anielka helped Osneylin and Aura prepare investment business plans because Osneylin and Auraare skilled farmers but cannot read or write well.

The women’s favorite training sessions were on Self-Esteem and How to Get Out of Poverty. After attending the training sessions, the women developed different ideas on women’s roles. For example, prior to the training, Osneylin and Aura believed that only men could own land and cattle while women could own hens and chickens; but they now see clearly  that there are equal rights. They no longer feel they should just wait for their husbands’ incomes because they now have their own sources of income after cultivating tubers, maize, and beans. Seeing their wives empowered has also motivated the husbands.

At night, both Osneylin and Aura think about their crops. They are excited to see their production, and they are  applying for a microloan from Self-Help to plant two manzanas of land using the double-row technique. This  is the most debt they’ve ever taken on, but they have a lot of faith that the fruits of their labor will allow them to invest in education, health, and more.

Osneylin’s family’s greatest wish is for Anielka to become an agronomist. All her hard work and effort goes toward providing her daughter the best education by cultivating the values and principles to be a good professional some day.

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