Adela declares victory over poverty through healthy lifestyles
Adela Estrada Carrera, 28, mother of two children, lives in the rural community of La Victoria (the Victory) in the district of Shunté in the San Martin region. Adela begins each day at four o’clock in the morning by cleaning the house, preparing food, and attending to her family’s needs. Once she is finished, she hurries off to start her visits to the homes of neighboring families in the community. Adela is not famous or a politician, yet she leads the fight for maternal-child health improvement in her community, feeling strongly that health is essential to life. The routine visits and counseling that Adela provides to each one of the families in her community represent a tremendous contribution. But for Adela to become an advocate of healthy lifestyles was not an easy decision. Born with a pelvis deformity, she used to refuse medical advice, as a way of rebelling against her own condition. During her second pregnancy, and thanks to the work conducted by USAID’s Healthy Communities and Municipalities project, she became aware of the life-endangering risks that she and her baby were exposed to, and with the proper prenatal health care she received, her baby boy was born healthy.
“With the support of USAID’s Healthy Communities and Municipalities Project, my family is healthy and we live happily. They’ve taught us how important health is in our lives… drinking boiled water, washing our hands, cleaning and tidying up our home and, something really important: going to the health clinic when one is pregnant for one’s prenatal check-ups. I breastfeed my baby Josué and I keep him healthy so when he grows up he’ll be a hard worker”
Adela says, her black eyes reflecting her happiness and hope for the women and children in her community that they too may be healthier.
Adela is a woman who symbolizes and represents La Victoria (the Victory): her physical limitations never deterred her. If she wants something, she goes out and gets it; she is a role model. She made a decision and started to support the community committee to make her community a healthier one, a model in their district. She is committed to this challenge, and considering everything she has done so far, we are certain that she and her community will succeed.
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Lorenza Lopez and Regional President of San Martin Cesar Villanueva,
hand in hand building licit livelihoods through cacao
Lorenza Lopez was born in 1965 in Yamango, Piura, a state in the north of Peru. In 1989, she migrated to Nuevo Horizonte, near Tocache, in San Martin and, like all her new neighbors, started working in coca cultivation, earning ten dollars a day, a huge sum in Peru’s depressed economy. A few years later, to the derision of her neighbors, she bought one hectare to grow cacao. In 2007, she joined USAID Peru’s Alternative Development Program and planted two more hectares, switching decisively to a licit lifestyle.
Two years ago, she was elected president of the Central Association of Cacao Producers, with 207 members, 47 of whom are women. They are now exporting their cacao to Switzerland, commercializing 100 tons per year and earning over US$420,000 in sales annually. Lorenza started out earning money the easy way from illegal coca and then made the courageous switch to a licit lifestyle, leading many others by her example.
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Berith Saldana accepts a first place cash prize at the Selva Ganadora (Jungle Winner) competition. Berith’s oil palm marketing project beat out 415 other communities. The competition challenged communities to submit ideas for community projects in economic and social entrepreneurship.
Ambassador Rose M. Likins recognizes Berith Saldana’s commitment to licit lifestyles.
Berith Saldana was born in Pajarillo, San Martin, Peru in 1965. She started working in oil palm cultivation in nearby Tocache and, by the age of 18, became a producer for Peruvian palm oil plant Endepalma. After a few years, when narcotrafficking and terrorism were rampant in the Tocache area, the plant went under. Berith decided to buy 15 hectares from them and started her own oil palm plantations. She courageously faced the worst years of Peru’s republican history in one of its most violent areas, and in the mid-1990s took on the challenge of forming the Tocache Oil Palm Growers Association in the heart of illegal coca-growing territory.
The Association started promoting oil palm growth and commercialization with 80 members. They have been supported by USAID Peru’s Alternative Development Program since 2006. The Association now boasts 770 members, 308 of whom are women. After many years as its President, Berith is now its treasurer, as well as a prosperous businesswoman. Berith is a clear example of how a woman can triumph in even the most adverse circumstances.
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