She Is Creating A Space For Women’s Voices In Disaster Recovery

Meet Paloma Bonfil, a 2018 Disaster Feedback Fellow of the Disaster Recovery Network at GlobalGiving.


While the destructive series of earthquakes in Mexico in September 2017 grabbed worldwide media attention, Paloma Bonfil of Fondos Semillas knew the real work would begin after the cameras left.

Paloma is the Chair of the Board at Fondos Semillas, a feminist fund that mobilizes resources for gender equity in Mexico. In the past year, Semillas has worked to amplify disaster recovery efforts by supporting locally led women’s groups through funding and technical expertise.

Semillas understands that women and marginalized groups are the most affected after a natural disaster yet are often excluded from decision-making in the recovery process. They are working to change that. Paloma and Semillas are creating a space for those voices to be heard.

“People are very resilient and have been organizing; people, and especially women, have taken their lives into their own hands in order to reconstruct not only their houses but also their work and their communities,” Paloma said.

One year after the earthquakes, Paloma said much work remains.

“Sometimes we think that when a disaster strikes, it is over in 2-3 months, but this is a very long process. It has been a year, but there are still people sleeping on the streets; people who have not recovered their jobs or working tools,” she said.

By involving women’s groups, communities have an opportunity to “build back better.” This, according to Paloma, starts with listening.

“What we do is to gather funds in order to give it to Mexican women’s organizations so they can tackle their own priorities and objectives,” she said.

Paloma is a 2018 Disaster Feedback Fellow of the Disaster Recovery Network at GlobalGiving. Learn more about the fellowship.

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