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September 19, 2013 at 10:23 am Leave a comment

Pro Mujer and GlaxoSmithKline Celebrate the Power of Women to Transform Generations

By Rebecca Feinberg, Associate Development Manager at Pro Mujer

In Argentina, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) joined Pro Mujer to celebrate the grand re-opening of the Rigoberta Menchu Center in the San Francisco neighborhood in Salta. What had formerly been a cramped and ageing space had just gotten a facelift: the center was now doubled in size and had a brand-new infirmary with a full-time nurse. The Center, smelling of fresh paint and anticipation, buzzed with more than 50 excited Pro Mujer staff, clients, and their children, all eager to see the improvements to their Center.

PMAGSK event 2013

Pro Mujer and GlaxoSmithKline leadership welcome Pro Mujer clients to their newly renovated center.

Pro Mujer and GlaxoSmithKline have been working together to improve access to health services for women in northern Argentina since 2009. The pharmaceutical company has committed more than US $1 million to help Pro Mujer International roll out our innovative and financially sustainable new healthcare model across the five countries where we operate: Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Mexico and Nicaragua.

As a dedicated partner in Pro Mujer’s commitment to making primary care services more accessible to women in poor communities, GlaxoSmithKline’s General Manager for Argentina, Rodolfo Civale, said  “This is a very special day for GSK Argentina. We profoundly believe in the work that Pro Mujer does in our community and we consider our partnership a step forward, strengthening us as a company. By supporting these types of initiatives, GSK achieves its mission –  not only through its products –  but also by giving opportunities to women who,  as the heart of their families, give education and access to health services to their children”.

At Pro Mujer we believe that women have the power to fundamentally improve their lives and therefore the lives of their families and their communities. This generational impact was in full view during the opening of the Rigoberta Menchu Center where clients and their children were in attendance. During the event, Pro Mujer gave out awards to clients’ children who participated in a drawing contest called “Mi Familia con Pro Mujer” (“My Family with Pro Mujer”) where the children depicted what Pro Mujer means to their families.

First place went to 12-year-old Guido Cruz, whose drawing was painted as a mural on the wall of the Center (watch video below). Guido drew a picture of his mother in a flowing red cape and a suit of blue and red decorated with the letters “PM” for Pro Mujer.  When asked to describe what the painting meant to him, Guido spoke proudly of his mother. Having watched her grow a business and acquire newfound confidence as a Pro Mujer client, he said “She is just like Superwoman.”

August 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm Leave a comment

Pro Mujer y GlaxoSmithKline Celebran el Poder de la Mujer Para Transformar Vidas

Por Rebecca Feinberg, Gerente Asociada de Recaudación de Fondos de Pro Mujer

En Argentina, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) se unió a Pro Mujer para celebrar la reapertura del Centro Rigoberta Menchú en la colonia San Francisco, en Salta. Lo que antes era un centro focal envejecido tuvo una “renovacion facial”. Ahora el Centro es el doble de grande y cuenta con una nueva sala de enfermería, y, por primera vez, con una enfermera trabajando a tiempo completo. El Centro, todavía con el olor a pintura fresca, vibraba con una audiencia de más de 50 personas entre personal de Pro Mujer, clientas y sus hijos, todos ansiosos de ver las mejoras y disfrutar de una comida juntos.

PMAGSK event 2013

Pro Mujer y GlaxoSmithKline dan la bienvenida a las clientas de Pro Mujer al Centro Renovado.

Pro Mujer y GlaxoSmithKline han trabajado desde 2009 juntos para mejorar el acceso a servicios de salud de las mujeres en el norte de Argentina. La compañía farmacéutica ha comprometido más de 1 millón de dólares para apoyar a Pro Mujer Internacional en el lanzamiento de su innovador modelo sostenible de atención a la salud en los cinco países en los que opera: Argentina, Bolivia, Perú, México and Nicaragua.

El Gerente General en Argentina de GlaxoSmithKline, Rodolfo Civale, dijo durante el acto de reinauguración, “Es un día muy especial para GSK Argentina. Creemos profundamente en el trabajo que Pro Mujer hace en nuestra comunidad y lo consideramos un paso adelante en el fortalecimiento de la compañía. Apoyar este tipo de iniciativas permite a GSK alcanzar su misión, no solo a través de sus productos, sino también dando oportunidades a las mujeres, que son el corazón de la familia, y dando educación y acceso a servicios de salud a sus hijos”.

En Pro Mujer creemos que las mujeres tienen el poder para empoderarse a sí mismas y mejorar sus vidas y las vidas de sus familias y sus comunidades. Ayudando a las mujeres a abrir la puerta a la auto-transformación, buscamos promover cambios que duren por generaciones. Este cambio generacional estuvo presente en la apertura del Centro Rigoberta Menchú donde estuvieron las clientas y sus hijos. Durante el evento, Pro Mujer entregó premios a los hijos de las clientas que participaron en el concurso de dibujo llamado “Mi Familia con Pro Mujer”, donde pintaron lo que Pro Mujer significa para sus familias.

El ganador del concurso fue Guido Cruz de 12 años, cuyo dibujo fue pintado en forma de mural en una pared del Centro (vea el video abajo). Guido dibujó un retrato de su madre en un traje azul y rojo con las letras PM y una flamante capa roja.

Cuando se le pidió que describiera lo que la pintura significaba para él, Guido se puso tan nervioso que se tapó la cara con las manos. Cuando venció la timidez, habló con mucho orgullo de su madre. Dijo que la vio hacer crecer su negocio y encontrar una nueva confianza como clienta de Pro Mujer. “Ella es como Super  Mujer”.

August 19, 2013 at 3:23 pm Leave a comment

Thanks for Help Training 200 Women in Mexico

We are excited to report that our “Chime for Change” project has been fully funded thanks to your generosity. $25,000 will help provide 200 of our entrepreneurial client leaders in Mexico with advanced business, health and empowerment training. These women will return to their communal bank groups and share their knowledge with other Pro Mujer clients, so your investment will actually be paid forward to help another 6,000 microentrepreneurs break the cycle of poverty. To learn more details about our project in Mexico, please click here.

Big thanks are due to Salma Hayek Pinault, a longtime Pro Mujer supporter, who selected our organization to be part of this campaign featured in Catapult – the first crowdfunding online platform focused exclusively on women and girls.

Celebracion Dia Socia Lider en Mexico

Mexico clients participated in a training session earlier this year

Thanks to all our donors, Salma Hayek Pinault, Chime for Change and Catapult for helping to raise the funds for this project benefiting thousands of Pro Mujer’s clients in Mexico.

July 29, 2013 at 4:06 pm 1 comment

Gracias por Ayudar a Capacitar a 200 Mujeres en México

Estamos muy emocionados de reportar que nuestro proyecto de “Chime for Change” ha sido totalmente financiado gracias a tu generosidad. Estos $25,000 dólares proporcionarán a 200 de nuestras emprendedoras clientas líderes en México, capacitación avanzada en negocios, salud y empoderamiento. Estas mujeres regresarán con los grupos dentro de sus bancas comunales y compartirán sus nuevos conocimientos con otras clientas de Pro Mujer, así que tu inversión generará una cadena para ayudar a otras 6,000 microempresarias a romper el ciclo de la pobreza. Para conocer más detalles de nuestro proyecto en México, por favor haz clic aquí.


Mucho de esto se debe a Salma Hayek Pinault, una amiga por mucho tiempo de Pro Mujer, que seleccionó a nuestra organización para ser parte de esta campaña que aparece en Catapult – la primera plataforma en línea de financiamiento público centrado exclusivamente en mujeres y niñas.

Celebracion Dia Socia Lider en Mexico

Clientas de México en una capacitación a principios de este año

Gracias a todos nuestros donantes, Salma Hayek Pinault, Chime for Change y Catapult por ayudarnos a recaudar los fondos para este proyecto que beneficia a miles de clientas de Pro Mujer en México.

July 29, 2013 at 4:05 pm Leave a comment

17 Years Changing The Lives Of Thousands Of Women In Nicaragua

Pro Mujer in Nicaragua is celebrating its 17th anniversary this month after starting operations on July 31st 1996 thanks to the dream of their cofounders, Lynne Patterson and Carmen Velasco.

Today, Pro Mujer in Nicaragua helps almost 53 thousand women throughout the country, and because of their effort and their will to improving their lives, the organization is the second largest in Nicaragua from the ones registered in the Asociación Nicaragüense de Instituciones de Micro Finanzas (ASOMIF). In Latin America holds the second place regarding portfolio quality.

To mark the celebration of its 17th anniversary, three operation centers were inaugurated, following the poverty map. In April a new center started giving opportunities to women in Jinotepe and two new offices where opened, one in Jinotepe and another in Malpaisillo.

Gloria Ruiz in the celebration.

Gloria Ruiz cutting the ribbon during the launching of the anniversay events.

“We are bringing our clients closer to the Integrated Credit, Training and Health Services. The largest impact from Pro Mujer in women development is what the statistics say. In the last ten years we have prevented death from cervical cancer and breast cancer in more than three thousand women. Three thousand women today can tell their shocking testimony” said Gloria Ruiz, General Manger of Pro Mujer and who is also celebrating 17 years of working in the organization.

In the last years, thanks to the integrated health and education services, the 53,000 clients and their families can have good health, manage their business, make their own decisions and definitely improve the quality of their lives thanks to the almost 190,000 trainings that Pro Mujer has conducted so far in areas such as financial education, self-esteem and health.

During the 17th anniversary and to award the clients’ loyalty, Pro Mujer launched two new products. One of them is the Vida Sana health package, which started as a trial in the city of León and is now starting in Masaya.


Client getting a “Vida Sana” health service package.

“Vida Sana is a health services package that works with an annual membership, and it can be purchased by Pro Mujer clients, in order to timely detect some diseases and restore and maintain health status of our clients and their family,” added Gloria Ruiz.

Another innovative product for the clients is the Individual Credit program currently running in León and Chinandega, which Pro Mujer in Nicaragua wants to spread to the rest of the departments where the organization operates. This product is for clients and former graduated clients that worked under the communal bank methodology.

“This is an opportunity for our clients to develop their financial activity. With the Individual Credit program a client can request up to  $2,000 USD, and from $2,001 up to $8,000 USD with two sureties,” says Gloria Ruiz.

By the end of 2013, Pro Mujer in Nicaragua will expand its operations to other areas of the country providing live changing opportunities to many more women.

July 17, 2013 at 5:46 pm Leave a comment

17 Años Transformando La Vida de Miles de Mujeres Nicaragüenses

El próximo 31 de julio, Pro Mujer en Nicaragua  celebrará su  17 aniversario, tras iniciar operaciones el 31 de Julio de 1996  cuando sus co-fundadoras Lynne Patterson y Carmen Velasco dieron inicio a las operaciones de la organización en este país centroamericano.

Actualmente Pro Mujer en Nicaragua atiende a casi 53 mil mujeres a nivel nacional. Gracias al esfuerzo de ellas  y su deseo de superación,  la organización  es la segunda  más grande en Nicaragua  de las registradas en la Asociación Nicaragüense de  Instituciones de Micro Finanzas (ASOMIF), y en Latinoamérica la segunda con mejor calidad de cartera.

Para celebrar el 17 aniversario  se inauguraron tres centros de operaciones siguiendo el mapa de pobreza. En abril se abrió un centro para las mujeres Jinoteganas y en este mes de julio nuevas oficinas en  Jinotepe y Malpaisillo.

Durante el corte del listón.

Gloria Ruíz en la ceremonia de corte de listón.

“Estamos acercando los Servicios Integrados de Crédito, Capacitación y Salud a nuestras clientas, y lo más lindo para nosotras, el mayor impacto de nuestra organización de desarrollo de la mujer lo dicen las estadísticas, en los últimos diez años hemos  prevenido la muerte por  cáncer cervical y de mama en más de Tres mil Mujeres, eso te dice mucho del impacto que estamos generando”, indicó Gloria Ruíz, Gerenta General de Pro Mujer y quien cumple 17 años de trabajar con la organización.

En los últimos años gracias a los servicios integrados de capacitación y salud las 53 mil clientas de Pro Mujer en Nicaragua y sus familias pueden  gozar de salud, administrar sus negocios, tomar sus propias decisiones,  y en definitiva mejorar su calidad de vida gracias a las casi 190 mil capacitaciones realizadas en los últimos años en temas de educación financiera, autoestima y salud.

Como premio a la fidelidad de sus clientas Pro Mujer, lanzó este mes dos nuevos productos, el Paquete de Salud Vida Sana, que inició como piloto en la ciudad de León y ahora también en Masaya.

La banca comunal

Clienta adquiriendo un paquete de servicios Vida Sana

Vida Sana, es un paquete de servicios de salud por afiliación anual que pueden ser adquiridos por las clientas de Pro Mujer, con el objetivo de detectar oportunamente algunas enfermedades y recuperar y mantener la condición de salud de nuestras clientas y su núcleo familiar, ya que extiende parte de los beneficios a la familia”, agregó Gloria Ruíz.

Otro de los novedosos productos para sus clientas es el Crédito Individual que actualmente se ejecuta en León y Chinandega, y busca masificarse al resto de departamentos donde Pro Mujer tiene presencia. Este producto es para las clientas y ex clientas graduadas que se formaron bajo la metodología de banca comunal.

“Es una oportunidad para que  nuestras clientas  desarrollen su actividad económica.  Con el crédito individual una clienta puede solicitar solo con su palabra como garantía hasta $2.000, y desde $2.001 y hasta $8.000 con dos fiadores”, dijo Gloria Ruiz.

A finales de 2013, Pro Mujer en Nicaragua extenderá sus operaciones a otros lugares del país  abriendo oportunidades para que más mujeres hagan el cambio de sus vidas.

July 17, 2013 at 5:40 pm Leave a comment

Breakthrough in Bolivia: From Detection to Treatment of Precancerous Cervical Lesions

Pro Mujer began offering routine Pap smears when it first opened its health clinic in El Alto, Bolivia, 15 years ago. Now, thanks to obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Victor Conde and Pro Mujer’s preventive health campaign coordinator Gaby Quispe, our El Alto facility is pioneering the use of a test that allows immediate on-site detection of precancerous and cancerous cervical lesions, as well as the use of an inexpensive, low-tech therapy to remove these lesions on the spot.

Medical team at the clinic

Pro Mujer Medical Team at the El Alto clinic.

Historically, whenever Pro Mujer’s clients show signs of cervical cancer or precancerous lesions, we advise them to visit a Health Ministry clinic. But some of the women fail to do so because they don’t believe they are sick, their husbands don’t let them or they are simply afraid. In June, Pro Mujer contacted these clients and offered them appointments during a special three-day program. Most of them kept these June appointments with us because they know we provide prompt, free quality care. In fact, even a few women who were no longer Pro Mujer clients attended these cancer screening/treatment sessions.

From June 18-20, Dr. Conde taught 10 of our doctors and 12 of our nurses to perform the test known as visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA). The test confirmed the presence of precancerous cells in most of the women, and some of them were immediately treated with cryotherapy, which destroys abnormal tissue by freezing and requires neither hospital visits nor expensive equipment. Our staff were deeply moved when they saw the faces of these women—one a former Pro Mujer employee in Bolivia—as they were told they had just been saved from certain death.

Medical appointment

A doctor explains cancer treatments to patients in El Alto.

At the end of the third day, two doctors and three nurses chose to undergo screening. Their negative results were a very positive and welcome outcome. Even more important, by the conclusion of the program Pro Mujer in Bolivia had advanced from cancer detection to cancer treatment, an exciting breakthrough for our organization—and an essential step towards wellbeing for all our clients in the region.

In the coming months, training, VIA screening and cryotherapy sessions will be held in Sucre, La Paz, Trinidad and Santa Cruz.

July 10, 2013 at 1:57 pm Leave a comment

Gran Avance en Bolivia: De la Detección al Tratamiento de Lesiones Cervicales Precancerosas

Pro Mujer en Bolivia ofrece exámenes rutinarios de Papanicolaou desde que abrió su clínica de salud en El Alto hace 15 años. Ahora, gracias al ginecólogo obstetra Víctor Conde y a la coordinadora de  Campaña Preventiva de Salud Gaby Quispe, nuestra clínica en El Alto es pionero en el uso de un examen que permite la detección in situ de lesiones cervicales precancerosas y cancerosas, así como también el uso de una terapia de bajo costo y tecnología sencilla para remover estas lesiones.

Equipo Médico en la clínica de El Alto.

Usualmente, cuando una clienta de Pro Mujer muestra signos de cáncer cervical o de lesiones precancerosas, le recomendamos que visite una clínica del Ministerio de Salud. Pero algunas no lo hacen porque no creen que están enfermas, porque sus maridos no les permiten ir o simplemente porque tienen miedo. En junio pasado, Pro Mujer contactó a estas clientas y les ofreció citas médicas durante un programa especial de tres días. La mayoría acudió a la cita porque saben que proporcionamos servicios gratuitos y de calidad. De hecho, algunas de las que asistieron a estas sesiones de detección y tratamiento de cáncer ya no eran clientas de Pro Mujer.

Desde el 18 al 20 de junio, el Dr. Conde enseñó a diez de nuestros doctores y a doce de nuestras enfermeras a practicar el examen conocido como Inspección Visual con Ácido Acético (IVAA) a las mujeres que atendieron la cita médica. El examen confirmó la presencia de células precancerosas en la mayoría de ellas, y algunas fueron tratadas inmediatamente con crioterapia, que destruye el tejido anormal mediante congelación y no requiere estadía en el hospital o el uso de equipos costosos. Nuestro personal se conmovió al ver las caras de estas mujeres –una de ellas ex empleada de Pro Mujer en Bolivia- cuando les dijeron que habían sido salvadas de una muerte segura.

Consulta médica

Un médico explica tratamientos de cáncer a pacientes en El Alto.

Al final del tercer día, dos doctoras y tres enfermeras decidieron someterse al examen médico. Sus resultados negativos fueron, al mismo tiempo, positivos y bienvenidos. Aún más importante, al concluir el programa, Pro Mujer en Bolivia pasó de la detección del cáncer al tratamiento del cáncer, un gran logro para nuestra organización, y un paso esencial hacia el bienestar de nuestras clientas en la región.

En los próximos meses, el entrenamiento, la Inspección Visual con Ácido Acético y las sesiones de crioterapia se llevarán a cabo en las ciudades de Sucre, La Paz, Trinidad y Santa Cruz.

July 10, 2013 at 1:56 pm Leave a comment


By Gaby Vargas

Pablo, who is in 5th grade, asked his school for permission to take two exams in advance because he would be traveling with us to New York City for four days.

“Gordo, if you want I can help you study”, I offered enthusiastically while savoring in advance those days together with my husband, children, in-laws and four grandchildren.

“No, thank you Gaby, you flunked 5th grade”. Yikes! I was in shock.

“Escuincle soperutano”… it should be noted that even though I get along very well with everybody, this grandson and I have a very special relationship. We love each other, although it may seem otherwise. He made that comment because he knew I would immediately complain, just as I did, and I would chase him around the living room to tickle-torture him, which I also did.

We travelled together to Manhattan because I was going to receive an award from Pro Mujer, an organization that in the last 20 years has given millions of dollars to support women in Latin America. The event was a benefit dinner organized to raise funds and give three awards, so we reserved a table for my whole family.

Gaby Vargas, left, and Rosario Pérez.

Gaby Vargas, (right), and Rosario Pérez at Pro Mujer 2013 annual benefit event.

During the ceremony, after the speeches, a Nicaraguan woman, a Pro Mujer client, took the stand. She told us the story of her life and narrated how, thanks to this organization, she was able to support her family and recognize herself as a capable and valuable woman. With their help, she earned respect and recognition from people who worked in her town’s local market, who had previously underestimated her. All of this happened while she was coping with cancer and raising three children as a single mother. Before this evening, she had never been in a plane, let alone dreamed of visiting New York.

My four grandchildren, mesmerized, didn’t blink as they listened to her story. They were facing for the first time the reality of struggle and human pain narrated first hand. They realized that difficult experiences can be transformed into something worthy.

At the end of this moving experience, the auctioneer asked all of the attendants to use their cell phones to make donations through a phone number that appeared on the main screen.

That morning my husband and I had given our grandchildren some money for their birthday, which would be happening in the next days.

Surprising all of us, Toño, my oldest grandson one who is only 12 years old, immediately asked his mom for her cell phone to donate half of the money he had received. The other two followed and, with some reluctance, my fourth grandson did the same.

To view on the main screen the names of Toño, Pablo, Nicolas y Emi, along with the “de Mexico” and their very modest amounts donated, was a great source of pride for their grandparents and parents. At the end of the event, the four kids asked me to take them to say hello to the Nicaraguan woman and shake hands with their new heroine. In their eyes, I could see that they were opened to a new awareness towards the responsibility that we all have to help those who are less fortunate in life.

Gaby Vargas and other guests at the 2013 Annual Benefit event.

From left to right, Rosario Pérez, Maria Hinojosa, Gaby Vargas, Bill Rhodes, Maria Alejandra Rodriguez, Barbara Ricci and Lynne Patterson.

We walked back to the hotel, with a great sensation and that good feeling and spirit that you get when you help somebody else. The children didn’t talk about anything but the courage of this woman.

I fell asleep with a smile on my face, with the certainty that they will never forget that experience, and with the hope that I taught Pablo the lesson that, well… even though you flunked 5th grade, you can get an award.

Mexico, July 8th, 2013.

July 9, 2013 at 6:39 pm Leave a comment

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