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Latino Daily News

Thursday December 15, 2011

Center Offers Chance for Women to Become Self-Sufficient

Center Offers Chance for Women to Become Self-Sufficient

Photo: Training Centers in Mexico

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A training center in New Mexico for women living near the U.S.-Mexican border is providing those of them who never received a formal education with the chance to learn a trade.

In the hope of learning to be economically self-sufficient, Ana Maria Carrillo, a single mother of two, came to the Women’s Intercultural Center in Anthony, New Mexico.

Carrillo, a Mexican immigrant, told Efe that with the Center’s help she managed to reorganize her life, find a job and provide a home for her family.

The Center is a non-profit organization whose main objective is to train women who do not have a formal education so that they can look after themselves.

“Each year we receive about 3,400 students who have not had the opportunity for the necessary learning to improve their quality of life,” said Mary Carter, the organization’s executive director.

Classes in sewing, English, painting, computers, yoga, zumba and hair styling are just some of the things that students can learn about to help them find a paid position within the labor market.

“Sometimes, we ask for a voluntary donation of $2.00 to cover the cost of materials, but those who cannot give this money continue with their classes anyway,” said Ilse Arrieta, the coordinator of the Center’s programs.

Arrieta said that several of their students are women who come from the nearby city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to get training and offer their children a better future.

“If a woman is economic self-sufficient, she can better provide for her family, get better educational opportunities for her children and transform herself into a model of change for the community in general,” Arrieta said.

According to Tina Marquez, an instructor in embroidery, several of her students have already found work in sewing businesses and one of them even opened her own shop.

“These women come to learn a skill, and with sacrifice they manage to start their own small businesses, and at the same time they will help their classmates. Our educational work fills us with pride and satisfaction,” the instructor told Efe.

Many of the students are women who have been the victims of domestic violence or have been subjugated by male-dominated society, where their role does not extend farther than caring for their children, and when they are abandoned by their husbands they find themselves in economic limbo.

“We want all those women who have not formally prepared themselves in life to know that it’s never too late to learn a skill that helps them,” said Carter, adding that among the Center’s students are several grandmothers who come to class each day to learn something new