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Empower Ecuadorian Women to Elevate Communities

by Fundacion Hearts of Gold
Empower Ecuadorian Women to Elevate Communities
Empower Ecuadorian Women to Elevate Communities
Empower Ecuadorian Women to Elevate Communities
Empower Ecuadorian Women to Elevate Communities
Empower Ecuadorian Women to Elevate Communities
Empower Ecuadorian Women to Elevate Communities
Empower Ecuadorian Women to Elevate Communities
Empower Ecuadorian Women to Elevate Communities
Empower Ecuadorian Women to Elevate Communities
Empower Ecuadorian Women to Elevate Communities
Empower Ecuadorian Women to Elevate Communities
Empower Ecuadorian Women to Elevate Communities

Hey Everyone!! What an intense 2020 year!! I’d like to send you a warm blessing from me & the Mírame project during this time of global shifting uncertainty.

In regards to Mírame, I’m excited to share that the project has $1500 to dedicate activities for 2020. Rest assured, I’ll be diligently stewarding this incredible gift to leverage the greatest impact for women’s economic and personal empowerment. Starting with virtual platform adoption to continue Mírame’s outreach to connect and educate Ecuadorian women during this pandemic.

This time last year, Mírame embarked on 2019’s biggest activity of the year; a week-long awareness and education week co-hosted by Espacio de Co-Escucha for the international “La Semana del Parto Respetado (Respected Childbirth Week), which takes place annually on the week of May (19-25th for 2020).

“La Semana del Parto Respetado” represents an important endeavor to ‘mother the mother’ and reclaim childbirth as a transformative, natural process to the human condition- and particularly female bodies. The date acts as a marker to challenge current medical practices, due to the fact that 74% of childbirth in Ecuador occurs through cesarean medical intervention (the WHO states that only 20% of births actually require cesarean intervention).

Last year, “La Semana del Parto Respetado” first reached Cuenca, Ecuador sparking conversations on what it means for a woman to have “birthing rights” (aka- the right to: give birth in a squatting position, receive food and water during labor, deny vaginal contact to determine cervical dilation… etc.) and also introduced ancestral themes of feminine transformation and corporal empowerment derived from local indigenous communities and introduced into the modern culture birthing dialogue.

La Semana del Parto Respetado was a whirlwind week that directly impacted 109 attendees and received great community feedback. Complete with front page news coverage, tv and radio interviews. The weeklong event saw a series of public workshops, a public mural made from the imprints of placentas, a highlighting conference with 6 medical and tribal medicine panelists (that received much esteem and applause), and a peaceful “informative peace protest” in front of the hospital that sees the most cases of cesareans in Cuenca (roughly 80%).

The biggest “win” of it all was being contacted by the hospital where the informative protest took place with a request to educate medical staff on the rights of women in labor.  

Looking towards this year, COVID quarantine policies and social distancing is changing the scope and strategies of what was originally planned. For now, our goal for “La Semana del Parto Respetado” is to repeat the same news media coverage, embark on an online awareness campaign, and to host public training and education webinars online for the same number of direct beneficiaries. 

This year’s theme is “Parir es Poder” (Birthing is Power) and we’re super excited to invite women to explore the power of their bodies during such a transformative moment of a woman’s (and infant’s!) life. Stay tuned to see how all the fun shakes down for the month ahead by following us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Mirame.Vivir

A warm & heartfelt thank you for investing in another year of Mírame's program advancement, and contributing to the benefit and wellbeing of the benefit of mothers and expectant mothers in Ecuador. 

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Mírame sends loving Happy New Year (and new decade!) wishes to all of our amazing donors and supporters. Thanks to you, over 130 different people experienced GREAT moments of personal transformation, holistic health education and financial empowerment in 2019 in our two programs: one week long education & awareness series on respected childbirth in May, and our daylong workshop event for women held in November, “Machi Küyén”. 

Since you last heard from us in October, Mírame hosted a wonderfully successful women-helping-women micro-enterprise & living workshop event Machi Küyén (meaning “moon healer” in the Andean Mapuche language) on Saturday, November 30th 2019. 

In this pilot event, seven women solopreneurs were brought together to share their professional knowledge in holistic women’s health with a new community of women seeking to transform their personal challenges into opportunities for healing and growth.

In this day long event, each leader directed a workshop focused on a theme of personal development through modern applications of ancestral feminine archetypes and traditional understandings of women’s physiological cyclicity.

Machi Küyén also hosted a mini-exposition of holistic health products and services made from Ecuadorian women at the grassroots level, which included naturally-sourced reusable menstrual pads, ecological body care and beauty products, and organic ancestral remedies for common ailments of the female body.

In all, 21 women from various life stages participated in Machi Küyén, and explored safe and harmonious spaces of reflection, connection, sharing and modern applications of traditional wisdom and holistic health techniques.

For every $20 donated, Mírame was able to leverage an average of $60 in additional income for each woman leader, and was able to invite a new woman into the fold of a growing women's community, centered on personal empowerment and a revival  of ancestral knowledge in our fast-paced modern world.

In Machi Küyén’s follow-up survey, over 2/3rds of respondents rated the event a 10 out of 10. In the words of Gabi, one of the newest women to participate in Mírame: 

Everything was excellent, and it was such a liberating experience to confirm and recognize from the space of empathy how to change old patterns and seek self-understanding from each identity presented. It was amazing, including being able to share such magic with my daughter. Infinite thanks for the effort and commitment to create such spaces of exchange and learning ♥”.

Thank you so much for directly sponsoring such a miraculous women-supporting-women event of deep exploration, community growth and micro-enterprise for women leading the charge in revolutionizing how women relate and connect to the world they inhabit.

Again, many thanks for your past contributions and continued support for more workshops and events to empower Ecuadorian women. Machi Küyén was a great success because of you, and we look forward to continuing the mission to serve the personal and financial empowerment of more Ecuadorian women in 2020!

Saludos y Abrazos,

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This last part of the year has a lot in store for the Mírame program and we’re excited to announce big developments for our grassroots-led women’s empowerment model in Ecuador. 

Everyday we’ve been working to contribute to the betterment of women and their livelihoods in Ecuador through the Mírame initiative. To us, that means working through an empowerment model where women leaders in Ecuador can connect with other Ecuadorian women to improve their lives through an exchange of resources and education.

On November 30th Mírame is leading a women’s conference “Machi Kuyén” (Moon Healer in Mapuche, a native Andean language) along with 3 other women-led and woman’s service-oriented groups; Pachamama, SisaKisma and Tierra.

This 6-hour conference unites traditional women’s empowerment workshops with Andean ancestral wisdom traditions, and focuses on providing support to women throughout the 4 renowned stages of a woman’s life cycle: Maidenhood, Motherhood, Womanhood, Elder. In the local Andean traditions, these phases are symbolized ancestrally by the changing phases of the moon. 

 “Machi Kuyén” will represent each phase of a woman’s lifecycle with a focused workshop and discussion, and is proud to involve established woman leaders to guide each workshop in their specific area of expertise. 

Here is an (English!) outline of the program and leadership for our exciting pilot event:

  • The Maiden: Makeup & Self-Esteem- Using Our Reflection to Reconnect with Ourselves”. Led by Gabriela Ormaza, (Leader of Pachamama, La Leche League Azuay, and Registered UDSA Earth Guardian) & Fernanda Serrano from FerSerrano Makeup.
  • The Mother: Raising Children with Love”. Led by Daysi Arcos, (Masters in Family Education & Conscious Parenting Expert).
  • The Healer: Integrating Healing with Our Menstrual Cycles” Led by Gabriela Pinos (Leader of SisaKisma cosmetics, and DeviYoni gynecological health products)
  • The Wise Women: Walking the Path of the Ancient Grandmother”. Led by Virgina Umbre  (Licensed Professional Psychologist, Ancestral Medicine Healer, and Leader of Tierra)

This event is a first-glimpse into our outreach to the broader women’s community in Ecuador and we’re excited to see what’s in store.

Mírame’s “big audacious goal” with this event is to set the stage for a larger Women’s Leadership Conference in March in honor of International Women’s Day, and to ultimately open up more Ecuadorian women to receive the tools and resources already existing in their own community for improved life crisis management, greater personal empowerment, and increased autonomy.

Thank you so much for your support and continued belief in Mírame’s grassroots work to mobilize women-led groups to empower Ecuadorian women. We recognize your generosity and commitment and are honored to serve your vision to improve the livelihood and opportunities available for our Ecuadorian sisters on a local, grassroots level.

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Dear Friends, 

 

We have been working hard this 2019, setting new goals to empower women and communities.

 

This past few months Kallpa Warmi, in an incredible initiative to empower rural women financially, has been working with Hearts of Gold through Mírame  to help these women discover their inner strength and value through a series of workshops in communication, motivation, strategic planning and personal mentorship, totalling 30 hours so far in this new year.  

 

Hearts of Gold will continue working with Kallpa Warmi by offering professional workshops and support to strengthen the rural agro-collective’s organization, which is currently going through a change of leadership. Kallpa Warmi will receive stable assistance through this transition to ensure it not only grows but THRIVES. What began with 10 women now includes over 90 women! Let’s keep that momentum growing to support more rural women from Ecuador in attaining financial independence! 

 

In March 2019 Mírame began a new chapter, and took on it’s own change of leadership, with Project Leader Colleen Eschenburg initiating new opportunities for women’s empowerment as a formal partner of Hearts of Gold.   

 

As Colleen stated, “My goal in leading Mirame is to facilitate a program to help women find themselves, stand up for themselves, feel ok in their own skin.

 

We’re all on a search for happiness in this world, and we are often told if we do good at “X”, we will be happy. 

 

But what if the reverse is true? What if we were happy, as we are, with life as is, and then the good “X” followed? The good grades follow, the good marriage follows, the good job follows?

 

I want to help women find their center, and to find it by reconnecting with their roots. Their unique and beautiful Ecuadorian-Andean heritage.

 

After a lot of investigation and inquiry with local women these past few months, I marvel at the polarization found in their stories. Incredible resiliency, incredible strength, incredible feelings of isolation and low-self-worth.

 

Most women I’ve interviewed are not proud to be women, and most are also not proud to be Ecuadorian.

 

With Mírame, I want to invite these women to connect with others, to connect with the wisdom traditions of their ancestral roots, and to exchange support for one another so that they can come to honor their womanhood and their Ecuadorian-Andean roots.”

 

With this goal in mind, Mírame is lining up a series of workshops with local visionaries and ancestral healers to help women connect with themselves, their roots, and with other women.

 

Mírame will begin introducing this workshop series starting in September at CASA VIOLETA, a care-home for underage girls who were victims of domestic and sexual abuse. 

 

We want to thank you so much for supporting Mírame as it advances into this exciting direction and new collaborative partnership with Hearts of Gold.  Please stay tuned for the amazing news to come on the upcoming months as Mirame unfolds it’s services with the young girls at CASA VIOLETA!

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Program Calendar for Respected Childbirth Week
Program Calendar for Respected Childbirth Week

Hey everyone!!

First off, Mírame would like to give a BIG THANK YOU to all of you who participated in the March fundraiser in honor of International Women’s Day. With your help Mírame raised $1,500!

Since then, Mírame has connected with two women-led organizations to host a series of events to empower Ecuadorian women during one of the most vulnerable and transformative times of a women’s lifepregnancy and childbirth.

In honor of International Week of Respected Childbirth (May 13-18), Mírame has joined up with Espacio de Co-Escucha, a women’s organization dedicated to helping women in crisis, and El Parto Es Nuestro (EPEN) an international nonprofit which promotes meeting the World Health Organization’s recommendations for maternal health and supports women throughout pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum stages. Together, we’re leading a week long initiative to empower women to practice natural birth and to educate families and professionals about the rights of womenduring childbirth.

During International Week of Respected Childbirth, Mírame will be supporting the following activitiesall free and open to the public, thanks to your support:

  • Inauguration of the mural, “Bosque de la Vida” (Forest of Life) on display in Museo Pumapungo’s public library in Cuenca, Ecuador. (Commissioned by a volunteer coalition of Ecuadorian artists, this piece is made from the imprints of hundreds of naturally delivered placentas. “Bosque de la Vida” is a powerful, one-of-a-kind piece of art that Mírame is proud to sponsor).
  • Informative dialogue circle led by EPEN to educate women and their families about their rights during childbirth.
  • Women’s dialogue circle led by EPEN to explore and discuss the transformational experience of natural childbirth.
  • Open panel discussion led by certified medical professionals regarding the importance of natural, respected birth for maternal and infant health, and how families and medical professionals can use their influence to change birthing practices in Ecuador.
  • Peaceful demonstration near Hospital Vicente Corral Moscoso to pass out informative fliers about natural childbirth and display public support for women’s childbirth rights.

Mírame is very excited about leading this awareness campaign, complete with TV interviews, radio broadcasts, social media communications and five interactive events to support a community-wide educational initiative on natural childbirth.

Thanks to your contribution, we look forward to celebrating International Respected Childbirth Week and reaching our goals to:

  1. Empower women in their natural right to respected childbirth, and
  2. Shed light on the medical epidemic termed, “obstetric violation”–a phrase used to refer to forced cesarean birth and invasive medical processes without probable medical cause.

As you may know, Ecuador is one of 15 countries globally to have the highest rates of cesarean birth – with nearly half of the Ecuadorian population (45,5%) being born via cesarean.

While cesareans are a vital and indispensable medical intervention that saves lives and they should be available to all women, cesareans are an extremely invasive medical procedure that affects the health of both mother and child. As stated by the World Health Organization, only 10-15% of pregnancies are sited as requiring cesarean medical intervention.

Cesarean births are on the rise due to many factors, and during International Week of Respected Childbirth, Mírame aims to help women reclaim pregnancy and childbirth as a natural, ancestral process (not a medical illness) and to be aware of their rights to decide:

  • how to birth (standing, squatting; consuming foods or liquids, etc.)
  • who is present with them at childbirth (husband, mother, doulas, etc.)
  • how their baby should be treated in the first moments of life (skin-to-skin contact, immediate breastfeeding, when to cut the umbilical cord, etc.)

For more information about our activities, please feel free to send an email to: Mírame.vivir@gmail.com or visit us on Facebook. We would love to hear your feedback!



Artist in action for "Bosque de la Vida" mural
Artist in action for "Bosque de la Vida" mural
Artist in action for "Bosque de la Vida" mural
Artist in action for "Bosque de la Vida" mural
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Organization Information

Fundacion Hearts of Gold

Location: Cuenca - Ecuador
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Hearts_Of_Gold
Project Leader:
Maria Jose Orellana
Cuenca, Ecuador
$16,889 raised of $20,000 goal
 
463 donations
$3,111 to go
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