Norma has been with HOOP for the past five years. Originally from Puno, she came to Arequipa looking for more opportunities for herself and her son. Since arriving eight years ago, she’s faced many setbacks but has also found strength in her personal goals and in the women around her.
“My life changed in a lot of ways when I joined HOOP... I felt a lot calmer and happier because of the workshops...and I’ve made a lot of friends through meeting the other moms."
One of Norma’s most admirable qualities is her commitment to providing opportunities for both herself and her son: “It’s very important to me that my son learns as much as he can... and for my part, I love the classes, from yoga to English to dance...I’m having fun.”
For Rosa-Quispe, being a member of HOOP has given her a sense of place and belonging. Like many of the HOOP moms, when she first joined, she was quite shy and uncomfortable sharing personal information with others: “...when I am [at HOOP] I feel so free; I just forget my problems. I feel alive! It is very different from home, where I am preoccupied and always have things to do.”
Feeling like she’s found an extended family within the HOOP organization has helped Rosa-Quispe open up to others and take control of her personal development: “We don’t have to be ashamed to ask you for advice. We can trust you and you know a lot of things!”
“For me, HOOP is a synonym for help….what I love the most with HOOP is the diversity of workshops that you propose to us...I also love when the professionals give us workshops...they transmit a lot of skills to us, improve our knowledge, help us become able people.”
One of the things Hilda has found most rewarding about being a member of HOOP is the camaraderie amongst the HOOP mothers; she feels she has found a group of women in whom she can trust and confide in because of the common ground they share.
A resident of Arequipa for the past 20 years, Hilda joined HOOP two years ago with her three children: “Before, when I wasn’t in HOOP, I was very stressed. I would pick my kids up from school and bring them home and then we just had nothing to do...but now I go to HOOP in the afternoons and I feel much happier. I’ve made friends and we are always talking.”
Feeling comfortable and safe within the HOOP organization has helped Hilda gain a sense of place within the Flora Tristan community: “HOOP means a lot to me...it’s a support system [where] we teach and advise one another. I like all of the workshops and talks with the psychologists...before we didn’t have anything like that. I never miss a workshop unless one of my children is very sick.”
Guillermina stumbled upon HOOP four years ago. She was looking for a primary school for her daughter and decided on the school that shares its building with HOOP in the afternoons. She was new to the area at that time and expressed immediate interest in joining HOOP. The rest, as they say, is history: “I really like the English classes and that my daughter can learn a second language, which will provide her with a lot of opportunities.”
A thoughtful and friendly woman, Guillermina is also quick to smile and lend a hand, qualities that got her elected to the HOOP Mom Board of Directors. She leads by example with her subtle but immensely important contributions to Board meetings; she is always mindful of including everybody in the conversations, encouraging shyer members to participate and offering democratic solutions: “I was very shy at the beginning and couldn’t talk in public, but I practiced with the other Moms…[now] we know each other and tell each other our stories. Sometimes we hang out in Myriam’s house just to talk.
Guillermina has been a model HOOP mother to work with. She attends the moms’ workshops and classes nearly every day, and is always open to learning new things and hearing new ideas. She is especially active in workshops about parenting techniques: “My favorite is that I learned about how I can educate my daughters. You teach us not to use force, which is how I was raised.”
Guillermina’s commitment to her daughters extends into her own, personal dreams; when asked about her goals or thoughts for the future she simply replied: “One of my daughters is still very young and I don’t have anybody who can take care of her, but I would like to start working."
This is Ceferina’s first year with HOOP, though she’s lived in Flora Tristan for the last nine years. She initially came with her eldest son because he was starting university and she wanted to support him, but then she had her second son (now aged seven) and decided to stay. She heard about HOOP through other mothers in the community.
As a HOOP mom, Ceferina brings a genuine lightness and happiness wherever she goes: “HOOP has helped me to make friends, has opened me up, and I enjoy being a part of it...I would like to always be a part of it.”
Having been a member of the Flora Tristan community for so long, Ceferina brings an authoritative perspective to her opinion of HOOP and what she sees as a very positive impact on the community: “HOOP is an institution that supports the people who need it...I want HOOP to keep doing what it’s doing, to give us means through learning, and [I want] everyone in the community who comes from different places to receive support.”
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