Jenny Carrasco, 46 years old from Salinas - canton of San Vicente, in the province of Manabí, Ecuador - is one of the many beneficiaries of the project "Women Organized for a Resilient and Inclusive Ecuadorian Coast", executed by CISP and funded by the European Union in the period 2017-2020.
According to her own words, thanks to this project her life has undergone a radical change. This is her testimony.
"If you ask me to tell you what my life was like before and what it is like now, I can say that I have been a woman dedicated to my home, my husband and my daughters. I stopped going to school at 16 when I got married, because my husband did not like me to study. And so, time passed until 2014 when I joined the association of women entrepreneurs in the community where I live and spent my time between running my clothing shop and my shrimp fishing business, which gave me extra income. However, when the earthquake hit us in 2016, things changed, my business went bankrupt and the only thing we were left with was the will to move forward and pick ourselves up from the rubble. The group consolidated even more, we organised ourselves to apply for support from the municipality and, like a gift from heaven, the Women's Project came to transform our lives.
The classes I attended as part of the project awakened in me an immense desire to resume my studies. At first I thought it was too late to start again, but the advice I received from the CISP experts and trainers motivated me to take the decision to finish school after 29 years. It was hard because I had to manage time between home, factory work and studies, but it was definitely worth it.
The road sometimes becomes difficult, and I don't deny that I sometimes thought about giving up, throwing in the towel, resigning, but a question that someone asked me in a moment of despair always came back to my mind: "Did you swim so far just to drown on the shore? Are you going to throw away all that effort for something that can be solved"? In that moment I knew I had to move forward and now I am where I am because of those angels that God puts in your path.
I am currently in my third year of school, I work in the shrimp processing plant and in the ice factory in the administration and communications area, and with my family we have an independent gastronomic enterprise, which allows us to live comfortably.
I feel very optimistic about the future and at the same time very grateful to the Women's Project because it has transformed me from an insecure, shy woman with no goals or future into an emancipated, confident woman, who every day acquires knowledge to pass on to others, with clear goals and great ideas for the future.
I would like to send this message to all women in Latin America and the Caribbean: "It is never too late to start again. It is never too late to make decisions that benefit our lives. The power to change the future is within us, we have a voice and together we will transform our reality for the good of our family and our community. Don't lose heart because there is always a light at the end of the tunnel".