Manuela Salinas is a 24-year-old mother of five beautiful children. From the rural community of Nuevo Mundo in the Loreto region, she dedicates her time to her home, fishing, and farming.
Manuela learned about farming at an early age; knowledge passed down to her by her parents. But unfortunately, things were still difficult for her and her siblings at home. Manuela’s father, who suffered from alcoholism, was physically abusive to her mother—something she began to witness at a very young age. And after years of enduring the violent attacks from her husband, Manuela’s mother left home when Manuela was just 16 years old. From that point on, Manuela became the head of her household, taking care of herself, her younger siblings while her father sunk further and further into alcohol addiction.
Despite these challenges and the violent environment she was raised in, Manuela never stopped believing in the value of a family. Experiencing domestic violence only showed her what she did not want out of her life. And so, when she eventually started her family, her goal was to build a peaceful and loving home. Manuela is now the proud mother of five children. And she’s still the same hardworking and caring woman she taught herself to be.
Families in rural communities of the Peruvian Amazon base their diet on veggies, tubers, and fish—their way of living depends on the production and exchange of these foodstuffs. But in rural communities like Nuevo Mundo, far from others and with limited access to the river, families are more affected by fish scarcity. Before working with Minga, Manuela provided for her family by growing bananas and fishing, which was arduous and not very sustainable.
Because she did not have a fish farm, Manuela had to go to the river, collect the fish in small buckets, and bring them back to her family each day. The trip took up much of Manuela’s time, and it was hard to keep the fish fresh. And sometimes, she would go for several weeks with no fish to nourish her children.
“Things are much more difficult when you don’t have something on your own,” Manuela says.
For families like Manuela’s, having a fish farm allows them more permanent access to this resource and requires less dependence on the river.
But now, thanks to Minga’s support and her own determination, Manuela was able to build her fish farm. She can collect more fish, raise them, and use them for consumption or selling at the local market to produce income. With the money gained from the fish sale, she can buy clothes and school supplies for her children or take them to the nearest hospital to receive medical attention when necessary.
Now that she has a fish farm, for the first time, Manuela feels that she’s able to dream and plan future projects for her family. Principally, Manuela wants to build a bigger house where her five children can live more comfortably. She’s very grateful because she never thought she would receive support like this as someone who had struggled with neglect and abandonment.
Now, instead of living day to day, Manuela can plan long-term goals for the health and betterment of herself and her children.
For over 23 years, Minga Peru has empowered over 1,200 women from 50 remote and isolated communities of the Peruvian Amazon, representing one of the most marginalized areas in the country and the region. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Minga has relentlessly dedicated its work towards helping women like Manuela thrive and break the circle of poverty by giving them tools and training and securing income and nutrition at a time challenged by the threats of the pandemic.
You can make it possible that more women in the Amazon have ways to thrive and overcome any challenge by making a meaningful donation to Minga today.