Saint Lucia: Frances Iona Erlinger-Ford

The fate of humanity depends, on great measure, on women playing the main role in the fight for the peace.

— Frances Iona Erlinger-Ford

Her family taught her the love for social attendance and the work in local organizations. She was an excellent student, however, she could not go to university because the few overseas scholarships were for male students. Frances Iona Erlinger-Ford, natural of Saint Lucia, did not understand this. She also did not understand that domestic violence grew unpunished and that the rights of women were not recognized. She recruited, offered conferences, prepared workshops. She was placed in the head of the Saint Lucia Crisis Center.

Frances Iona Erlinger-Ford, born in Saint Lucia, is the third of seven children. When only 15 years old, she obtained the first place in Cambridge's exams, but she was denied a more advanced education by the lack of university facilities in the Caribbean. More than that, she suffered discrimination: Why could the male students study on scholarships abroad, but she could not? The barriers were imposed, and she had to fight. From very early, she worked so that the government of Saint Lucia would respect the UN Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Violence against Women and Children. She was a member of the Advocacy Committee in the government's Ministry of Social Services that, later, developed into the Ministry of Women's Affairs. With the help of the Professional and Business Women's Club, of which she was president, and of the National Council for Voluntary Women's Organizations, she founded, in 1988, the Saint Lucia Crisis Center. Her mission: indefatigable work to eliminate all forms of domestic violence and social abuses. But, she went further, she did not stop. She helped to understand that the attention should not only be focused on the woman, but also on the orientation of the family, with the same concern for the men and the children. The government offered them a place in the first three years. With donations, they were able to buy equipment and furniture. The legal help for clients that did not have resources was possible through the Roman Catholic Church. All the personnel, administrative and counseling, offered eight hours of daily services. Today, more than 6000 victims have been helped and, with her indefatigable work, Frances Iona Erlinger-Ford has managed to open other Crisis Centers in the Caribbean.

Centro de Crisis de Santa Lucía (Saint Lucia Crisis Center)