Group of Women Xitlali was born in the month of May in the year 2011.Their vision is that girls, adolescents and young women can grow in spaces of equality, where they respect and promote their rights that allow them to grow, lead and decide on their dreams, challenges, lives and bodies transforming their lives and those of their communities and be responsible for their own development. The group seeks to contribute to the integral development of girls, adolescents and young women through training, political activism, social mobilization and advocacy, through articulated work with families, communities, allied organizations and institutions..
The group shares the story of their Ana Maria*, a 19-year-old girl from the rural community of Valle de la Laguna, a region located in the south west area of the municipality of Masaya. This community is characterized by being populated by people with a marked macho and patriarchal context, very few young people finish high school or access technical or university careers, many adolescents get pregnant and leave their studies, having to go out to look for work as home assistants or street vendors in the tourist area of the lagoon. A very crucial feature of the Laguna Valley is religion: it is a community where many people congregate to the church of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is difficult to organize and be an activist in such a space as there is no openness to organize and be part of a group of women and an absolute rejection of the word feminist or gender equality.
Ana Maria joined XITLALI in 2015 in a sports project organized by XITLALI. She was a spontaneous and expressive girl, yet reserved around understanding issues around gender, self esteem and feminism. In her participation in the Feminist School, she took a different role, assumed leadership, invited girls from her community to participate in the Feminist School, shared with the group her life history, identifying the situations of inequality that her mother and herself experienced of having an absent father, facing economic and psychological violence. Ana Maria has emerged as a dynamic young lady, assuming herself as an organized young woman, forming a group along with other adolescent and young women in the community, representing XITLALI in key spaces such as campaign launches, workshops and at the Latin America and Caribbean Convening organized by FRIDA in Mexico.
She describes XITLALI as a space to grow as a person, leader, woman, because it provides has given her the opportunity to value herself, to cultivate self-love, with a willingness to organize and strengthen the group, promote defending women’s rights and assume a feminist role.
*Name changed to protect identity