Nicaragua: Gladira Auxiliadora Talavera García

I could not understand how I, a woman who was illiterate and poor, could contribute to change our lives. I did not understand that the strength of 1000 women was necessary to achieve what we wanted.

— Gladira Auxiliadora Talavera García

She took care of her eight siblings and was not able to go to school. She was mistreated by her mother and also by the man she loved. She is Nicaraguan. Her legal name is: Gladira Auxiliadora Talavera García (52). People simply call her “Chilo.” Women recognize in her a common past of poverty and–more than that–a present of organization of acts against disrespect and marginalization. “Chilo” listens, reflects, finds solutions, smiles and never backs down. Never.

Gladira Auxiliadora Talavera García–“Chilo”–is a Nicaraguan woman. Mistreated in her childhood, she worked as a domestic worker since she was a little girl. Later on, she became a seamstress. Then, a factory worker. In that moment, she began to realize she was not the only one. She understood that her companions also worked without any rest, suffered from hunger, were beaten by their men. “Instead of crying alone, let us organize ourselves,” she said. They went on strike. They were fired, but “we took a machine with us, and we made them pay each one of us every dime.” She smiles. In 1979, the Sandinist Populist Revolution triumphed. The National Literacy Crusade taught thousands of people to read and write. “Chilo” was one of them. “I went to the first day of school full of enthusiasm. It was in 1980. I still treasure the diplomas. And the very best thing of all was learning how to write my own name!” She has lived for nearly 30 years in Pancasán, in the province of Granada. During that period, she has been setting up collective projects and organizing participations in social actions. She has created permanent centers where hundreds of women can meet and participate in activities. One of her mottos is: “The differences we respect. The inequalities we fight.” She is the director of two non-governmental organizations: Axunica, in Spain, and The We Bet on Life Foundation, in Nicaragua. “Working collectively is something that came as a blessing into my life. As did these two words: solidarity and peace. These two things coexist side by side. If there is solidarity, there is peace.”

Axunica The We Bet on Life Foundation