Nélida lives in Nuevo San Lorenzo, one of the neglected neighbourhoods known as pueblos jóvenes that skirt the city of Chiclayo. “It’s just a sea of dirt and sand,” Nelida says.

Already a volunteer for the local parks committee, she wanted to learn what else she could do to improve life in her community. So last year, she signed up for the leadership school run by Heart-Links’ partner Centro Santa Angela.

When the pandemic hit last March, Nélida didn’t hesitate. She immediately started using her new leadership skills to help others.

She sought the support of a city psychologist and began a series of virtual workshops for women in her community to raise their self-esteem and help them make decisions. The workshops also taught the women to resolve conflicts and encouraged them to take an active role in their community.

As one workshop participant said, “During this time of pandemic, it especially helped older women like me because it distracted us, motivated us to keep going and to know how to take care of ourselves.”

Donations to Heart-Links helped Nélida become a leader and she in turn empowered a whole group of women. She helped them through the uncertainty the pandemic has created. Will you continue to make women’s leadership training a priority?

To promote more female leaders in northern Peru, donate today.

2020 has shown the world the value of good leadership. This is doubly true in Peru, where the country’s leadership was recently put to the test by a political crisis that briefly left the country without a president. In the middle of a pandemic, Peru’s leaders failed their fellow citizens exactly when people needed them most.

But the story doesn’t end there. People spoke out, they stood up and demanded that their leaders respect the democratic order. Women and young people were at the forefront of this movement. And they won.

Nélida has shown us that good leadership is critical to a healthy civil society. Leaders like Nélida make a difference. Your donation makes a difference. You can foster a new kind of leader in Peru: leaders who are democratic, transparent, inclusive and committed to human and community development.

Nélida told the group of women she was teaching, “We women are all of us brave, fighters, beautiful . . . Let’s get out there and conquer the world—this world that’s waiting for you, for me, for all of us.”

At the end of this month, Nélida will graduate from the leadership school, but her commitment to improving the lives of women in her community doesn’t end there.

“We’re taking baby steps that will lead to many other things in the future,” she says.

We’re all hoping for a better year in 2021. But we can do more than hope. We can invest today in the kind of future we’d like to see: a future where leaders put people and planet first.

Through a donation to Heart-Links, you can invest in leaders like Nélida. Let’s learn from this year of uncertainty and upheaval. Let’s recommit to building a just world together.

P.S. Donate by midnight on December 31st to receive your 2020 charitable tax receipt.