Peru: Carmen Rosa Campos Mendoza

Peace comes about when human rights and justice are respected.

— Carmen Rosa Campos Mendoza

Carmen Rosa Campos Mendoza (33) uses dialogue and consensus to improve the lives of those around her. She works with the Federation of Shanty Towns, the Women's Association for the Promotion of Sustainable Development and for the Committee against Poverty in Chulucanas, Peru. Carmen has fought hardship, abuse and indifference, but has never lost her tenderness. She believes that “changing a country is the responsibility of many, and women are part of that process.”

An outstanding ability for organizing, generating dialogue and overcoming misunderstandings: these are the tools which Carmen Rosa Campos Mendoza (33) uses to strengthen regional organizations and to transform the world around her. She is a mother of four boys and one girl, who dedicates herself to improving the lives of those around her. Carmen went to the impoverished rural district of Morropón, Peru, and was inspired since an early age by her father's untiring work for the community. When he was unfairly arrested based on terrorism charges, Carmen fought for six years for his release, at a time when she suffered domestic abuse. She developed her leadership skills gradually, starting off in college and Church groups. At age 22, she became president of the mothers' group in her shanty town, Luis de la Puente Uceda, an impoverished area. There, she put in place a system of job rotation so that everyone had a chance to be the director, a method which she now uses wherever she goes. She taught women that they can do more than stay home and helped them learn about health, human rights, the environment and the use of water. She then went on to build organizations such as the Federation of Shanty Towns and the Women's Association (Amprodesdch). She is also one of the promoters of the Committee against Poverty in Chulucanas. In her work, Carmen tries to empower women and people of disadvantaged backgrounds. She pushes for public policy changes and presents local authorities with solutions to combat poverty and discrimination, drawing some of her motivation from Gandhi, “who sought peace by using non-violent means.” Carmen dreams of becoming a member of Congress and helping Peru develop a greater self-awareness. “We must have a firmer grasp on reality, so that we can bring about real changes. We must all take responsibility and women must help to fight inequalities.”

Women's Association for the Promotion of Sustainable Development in Chulucanas (Amprodesdch) Committee against Poverty in Chulucanas