This project will help 200 young women from urban Nicaragua develop their self-esteem and gain practical skills that will set them on the path to economic self-sufficiency. Students learn strategies to combat the discrimination and violence that keep many women from reaching their full potential. Certified vocational classes, leadership workshops, job readiness training and hands-on, practical experience in a nurturing and inspiring environment prepare students for a life with new opportunities.
Nearly 1 in 3 women in urban Managua are subject to economic, psychological and physical abuse. Public education is underfunded. Jobs available to unskilled workers are poorly paid and unstable. In a culture of male dominance, young women in our neighborhood become economically dependent and at risk of violence. They need information and tools to prepare for a future with stable sources of income, increased control over resources and networks of support to reduce their risk and help them thrive.
The Batahola Center offers holistic education in a safe space for young women. During vocational training we also teach students how to navigate the formal job market. Peer education prepares women to accept nothing less than respectful treatment from potential partners. Young women become leaders in networks and campaigns to prevent violence in their community. With these skills, each woman enters a process of personal and collective transformation that begins to break the cycle of poverty.
Close to 40% of Nicaragua's population is under age 15. Adolescence is a key time to interrupt the transmission of harmful relationship practices and cultural patterns that sustain discrimination against women in the home, the community and the workplace. Economically self-sufficient young women have the freedom to advocate new roles and ways of relating based on respect and equality. As agents of change they help create a new generation of Nicaraguans who will live in peace with dignity.