Selenia (age 10) likes to go to the library each afternoon. When she gets home from school, she hurries through lunch and races to the library to do her homework and then do “stuff”. One of the things she likes most is to color detailed pictures, a project she shares with some other girls her age. They don’t allow the younger kids to get involved because the work requires a lot of care and concentration. “While we color, we talk about things and time flies” says Selenia.
The recent photography workshop selected one of Selenia’s photos for the inaugural exhibition of the new Centro Intercultural A mano manaba. She is very proud of the photo she took. The photographer who led the workshop decided to work with girls between 10 and 12 years old: “this is an age that is very critical in growth; it is when a person defines, not her work or profession, but rather the type of person she will be when she grows up.” This program, like all those proposed by Fundación A mano manaba, emphasizes the participation of women and girls in order to help them deal with the gender issues and difficulties that are evident in this small community of fishermen. The photography workshop, in addition to teaching basic techniques and skills for using cameras, helped these girls to “de-automate” their view of their surroundings, to see more clearly and critically.
Selenia also participated in the rhyming verse competition during the recent inaugural “Chigualo” for the Center. A Chigualo is a traditional Manabi way to celebrate Christmas by creating spontaneously rhyming verses. The inaugural Chigualo was organized and led by Alexandra Cusme, a member of FAMM and a well known feminist “amorfinera” from the Calceta area an hour east. In the program Selenia learned not only to improve her rhyming skills, but also gender and empowerment concepts that will help her to better negotiate the conditions and terms for her own growth and development, and expand her protagonism towards life and community.
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