Victoria, like many women living in poor communities in Lima, struggled to find worth in a challenging life. She and her husband moved to Lima from the highlands to escape an abusive home and start a new life. Almost immediately, she found out that she would soon give birth to a daughter. With no one to help watch her new daughter, Kelly, Victoria was forced to stay at home despite her family's need for extra income. The opportunity they moved to Lima for had to be put on hold.
Staying at home was challenging for Victoria for many reasons. The need for more money coupled with her inability to contribute, piled on stress that ultimately led to cracks in her marriage. Her husband started verbally abusing her, calling her ‘a burden on the family'. He humiliated her for not having an income to help pay for household expenses. Victoria internalized the abuse and began to doubt her ability to contribute anything of value to her family. Her self-esteem plummeted to the point where she started experiencing physical pain because of the depression.
When Kelly turned 4, Victoria decided the need was to great not to work, so she found a job selling used car parts on the streets of Lima. With no one to watch Kelly, she had to bring her young daughter to work with her every day. It wasn’t long before she realized that hawking goods on the street for 11 hours a day was putting her little girl at risk, so she went back to being a housewife convinced she would never work again.
Victoria first learned about Krochet Kids Peru at Kelly’s school. She overheard one of the mothers talking about her new job in the program. Knitting had always interested Victoria, so she started talking with the woman about her experience at KKP. Soon after, an application with Victoria’s name showed up on one of the mentor’s desk. She was accepted into the program in June 2012.
Victoria uses the fair wages, training and mentorship she receives at Krochet Kids Peru to ensure that her past is very different from her future. She and her husband are committed to saving as much of her income as possible to invest in their future well-being. But, the first thing they did spend her new earnings on though was refurbishing their home. “It was one of my dreams in life. With a lot of effort I saved the money I needed to start working on the construction of my house. Nine months later [the house] is at 100%. It will be a gift to my children for a better future,” admits Victoria.
When asked how her life has changed, she told us it was the internal changes, not the external ones, that have affected her the most. “My fulfillment as a woman is the change I’m most proud of. Before, I was tense and depressed. I had low self-esteem and I didn’t feel strong enough to make any decisions at all. But as time went by I learned so much, and slowly my depression has disappeared.”
With a new lease on life and a positive attitude, Victoria’s future is looking bright. We don’t know what she will do after the program, but we do know that the dreams she plans on going after next will be approached with the belief that she can accomplish them. And truth be told, there’s no limit to what empowered women are capable of.