Planting the seeds of healing: moving from words to actions to restore the rights of female survivors in Colombia
In her face and her tone, Mayerlis Angarita projects that infectious joy that is typical of the inhabitants of the savannahs adjoining the Caribbean Sea in Colombia, but her voice cracks as she recalls the tough times that her community, her family and she herself had to endure.
“It is a struggle that enables us to grow as women and society at the local level, because that is where you gain ground, where you build the foundation of society,” declares Mayerlis, a survivor of the armed conflict in Colombia. The conflict began in the late ‘40s between guerrilla groups and traditional political parties, but that was exacerbated by the rise of drug trafficking and the emergence of paramilitary groups in the latter part of the twentieth century.
While she was still a child, Mayerlis suffered the loss of her mother, a peasant leader in the Department of Córdoba. This situation forced her father to flee in the midst of threats and harassment to seek a more peaceful, although uncertain, future for his c