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A photo exhibition to promote female activists in Honduras

04 February 2020

Trócaire is touring a photographic exhibition around Honduras to highlight the stories of brave female human rights defenders.

Albertina López (44), from Pajuiles, Tela (Honduras), is a community leader, human rights defender and General Coordinator of Trócaire ́s partner organization MADJ (the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice) - Photo: Giulia Vuillermoz, Trócaire

I was one of 25 women artists invited to take part in the MU+P/ART Festival last November. The festival, held in Tegucigalpa, brought together women artists and human rights groups to denounce injustice and violence through photography, street art, poetry, and music.

My exhibition photographed 19 Honduran human rights defenders to show their work as leaders, as well as their everyday life.

The aim is to give a closer look on who they are: women with an essential mission and role in this society. Complete with their passions, dreams, hobbies, challenges and fears.

Working in Honduras with Trócaire for the last year I became aware of the need to promote the voices of these women. People in Honduras need to hear from women human rights defenders to hear of their stories and their struggles.

We must all be more aware of what is happening outside of our bubble, in some of the most forgotten corners of Honduras, and recognize how many things we have in common with our fighters. This will hopefully lead us to understand that we are not so different and that we have many common goals.

Rosalinda Áviles (33), leader in the organization Alternativas y Oportunidades AYO (Alternatives and Opportunities) and one of the 19 women defenders protagonists ofthe exhibition, reads her story for the first time on the day of the opening. Photo: Gabriel Alvarenga

Without the struggle of these people, Honduras and the communities they struggle with would face even greater violations of human rights.

The main protagonists are 19 very different women but with a common dream: to make Honduras a better place to live in.

They believe in a place where differences make us greater, where spirituality is respected, where the environment is protected, where chances are the same for everyone, not depending on where you come from or which is your gender.

Honduras taught me many lessons. The most important of them was understanding that we cannot judge a place from what we hear, from the first layer we get to see as soon as we arrive. It’s our responsibility to get closer, to know the people and learn through their words how everything really is.

Giulia Vuillermoz (27), EUAV in Communication in Honduras, sits next to some of the pictures from her photo exhibition Behind the Scenes: Women Defenders of Live, in the Cultural Centre Bocaloba, Photo: Mayra Oyuela

Thanks to these women and to many others, I am a different person today – and I want to allow myself to say – in a better way. All of them left something indelible in me and my hope is that they will do the same with the people who see their pictures and read their stories.

It was deeply moving to have 14 of the women at the exhibition launch - smiling, reading their stories, seeing themselves through my eyes and realising how many people they managed to touch in just a few hours.

The exhibition will move to every corner of Honduras throughout 2020. The idea is to repeat the experience in every town our women come from, to keep the information spreading, to keep educating our audience and building awareness.

Giulia Vuillermoz is an EU Aid volunteer working with Trócaire as part of the REACH initiative, co-funded by the European Union.