Brasilien: Concita Maia

Working as a network strengthens us and gives us conditions to propose public policies that contemplate our reality, our Amazonic cultural diversity and our dreams.

— Concita Maia

Educator Concita Maia (1951) is the founder and president of the Articulated Movement of Women from the Amazon (Mama), a feminist and environmental NGO that unites and strengthens women from the Legal Amazon, a region formed by nine states and with an area of five million square kilometers. There are 117 indigenous, Afro-Brazilian and Caucasian groups with whom Concita discusses themes such as female health, education, violence, environment and income generation.

Forbidden by her Caucasian mother of talking about her origins, Concita Maia silently held on to the history of her paternal grandmother. She was an indigenous who was hunted down and marked, on her arm, with the letters FC, which are the initials of the man who stole her freedom. Her grandmother was given as a present to another man with whom she had many children, including Concita's father. “My mom denied my indigenous background. It did not matter. It runs in my blood.” Popular education was the means that Concita found to take women like her grandmother away from invisibility. “Women who live in the depths of the forest and who are not even a part of the population data of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics.” In the 1980s, as a graduate and postgraduate in pedagogy, Concita moved to a tribe located along the border with Peru, where she implanted Acre's first indigenous school. One year later, when she returned to the capital, Rio Branco, she widened the militancy for the fight for the rights of women from the Amazon. They work as agriculturists, gatherers of serum for the fabrication of rubber, breakers of the babaçu coconut (to extract an essence used to make soaps and oils), fisherwomen, sexual professionals and midwives, surviving in inhospitable places of difficult access. In 1997, Concita Maia founded the Articulated Movement of Women from the Amazon (Mama). In the presidency of this movement, she articulates, informs and capacitates women's groups, aiming to strengthen them and to put them in conditions to seek social justice and gender equality. The movement also supports around 200 midwives in the state's countryside. She helps in the elaboration of the annual activity planning; she administers qualifying courses and fights for this profession to be recognized and legalized.

Movimento Articulado de Mulheres da Amazônia (Mama)