Peru: María Luisa Álvarez Llave

Peace is like air in the countryside, like the flowers that flourish without sadness, like children that smile in their innocence.

— María Luisa Álvarez Llave

María Luisa Álvarez Llave is a Peruvian woman who knows that what she experienced should not be experienced by any other young woman. She was raped when she was nine years old. She worked for shelter and food. From being illiterate, she became literate and bilingual; later on, she became the protagonist in a book published in Peru and republished in Mexico. She was the force behind the nomination of the International Day of Housewives. She is the co-founder of the Union of Cuzco and of the Latin-American Confederation of Housewives. She has a son and a grandson.

María Luisa Álvarez Llave had to rebuild herself. When she was nine, she was raped and violated. She is determined to fight to prevent what she experienced from happening to anyone else. She has been a serf and a slave. She was born in Altohuarca, Espinar, in Cuzco. Her history has been recounted (using another name) in the book ‘BASTA–Testimonios’ (‘Enough!–Testimonies’), from 1982. Her friend Domitila Chungara, the Bolivian activist, presented the book. In 1971, she and Egidia Laime Jancco founded the Union of Housewives of Cuzco. They demanded a salary, a ten hour work-day, weekly rest and holidays. It is a project that has lasted for more than 33 years. She takes care of women, adolescents and migrant girls, many of them from the Quechua and Aymara indigenous communities. They denounce sexual abuses committed by the employers. María Luisa Álvarez Llave was co-founder of the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Housewives (Conlactraho), in Colombia, and participated in the designation of their International Day and the achievement of a law concerning their situation. She is 58 years old and enjoys her son and grandson. She is sustained by her dreams and the improvements that can be achieved. With dedication and determination, she positions herself so that she is always in the vicinity of the fight for others. That is her life.

Union of Housewives of Cuzco