Mexiko: Nuria Costa Leonardo

I do not come to see if I can. I come because I know I can.”

— Nuria Costa Leonardo

When Nuria Costa Leonardo was 13 years old, she helped in her father's publishing house. She learned to work hard, to value her independence and to be firm in her judgments. With the richness of her background, she went to the mountains at the age of 19 and lived in rural Mexican communities for the next 20 years. She made close contact with the women of the countryside. She has been fighting by their side, day after day, since then.

Her father was a Catalan exile, her mother a Guatemalan woman. She was born in the spirit of the 1960s. At age 19, she abandoned her studies of Economy and decided to live in the Oaxaca jungle, in the South of the country, along with other companions from the Mexican National Autonomous University. She stayed there for nine years. During that time she had a son. She experienced the military repression and founded a school for superior studies, a combination of work, solidarity and conviction towards the indigenous communities. This was her formal schooling, and the schooling for the many others that, later on, became popular leaders. She stayed for another nine years in the North of the country, in Durango, where she made her first contact with the women who would become the center of her activities. For more than 30 years, she has been working to achieve justice for the rural areas. “People must turn back to the countryside; it is the only way to attain an appreciation of life. Our society looks down on women as well as on the rural areas. We urgently need to retrieve dignity for them and for the rural people.” Today she lives in Mexico City, traveling continuously across the country, holding workshops and having meetings with women from the National Network of Rural Women. She developed the proposal of a social bank, with and for women. “Our idea has nothing to do with the credit perversion that happened in other places. For us, it is a means, not a goal. The main thing is that women should organize and mobilize themselves. They should solve their problems together and have a happy life.”

National Network of Rural Women