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El Salvador: Documentary Planned on Women of the Civil War

A crowdfunding campaign for Women of the War aims to bring the stories of the women who took part of the Salvadorean Civil War (1980–1992) and who are now leading their communities for peace, equality and justice.

Through IndieGoGo, Lyn McCracken and Theodora Simon are raising part of the funds needed to make Women of the War, a full length documentary featuring the stories of 28 different women, publish a photo essay book and hold photography exhibits in El Salvador and the USA. So far, they've raised $4,000 of their $12,000 goal for that particular site and more than a month remains for people to make their donations.

The teaser video shows a sample of a couple of women telling their stories of survival and active engagement in the Civil War.

The Voices on the Border blog wrote about the documentary project including sections of the stories told by these women in their own words. Maria Yolanda Garcia Vigil had to flee from her home and witnessed the torture and assassination of family members by the government military forces during the Civil War during the 1970's and 1980's. Today, she works as a community leader, working with women and as an elected official in the city council:

I think we have achieved things for women. Maybe there are places where that’s not true, but in our community, it is. Here, women participate. Women are very active, and today, there is more awareness. The goal is to empower women and feel equal in work, in decisions. I think that as a community we’ve achieved a lot.

We are in favor of justice, and it hasn’t happened yet. Justice hasn’t come. So we have to keep fighting. That’s the challenge. We need to strengthen our organization. Because it’s a lie that things will happen just because, or because the big people want them. The effort has to be from the people.

On the Indie Go-Go site updates page,  Theodora Simon writes about the importance of completing this project and being able to share it with the people of El Salvador:

A través de un documental largo-metraje, exposiciones fotográficas en los EEUU y El Salvador, y un libro, queremos contar las historias inspiradoras de estas mujeres, y compartir su dedicación y esperanza con el mundo. Mujeres, especialmente mujeres pobres, de color y campesinas, no tienen donde hacer escuchar su voz, una manera de compartir sus experiencias y sabiduría con el mundo. Esperamos que Mujeres de la Guerra será esta oportunidad, y estamos comprometidas a compartir esta obra con audiencias estadounidenses y salvadoreñas con trabajo binacional y bilingüe.

Through a long-form documentary, photo exhibits in the US and El Salvador and a book, we want to tell the inspiring stories of these women, to share their dedication and hope with the world. Women, specially poor farmer women of color, don't have a place to let their voices be heard, to share their experiences and wisdom with the world. We hope that Women of the War will be this opportunity and we are committed to sharing this work with the US and Salvadorean audiences with a bi-national and bilingual work.
Women of the War photograph by Lyn McCracken

Jenni for Women of the War photograph by Lyn McCracken

All the money that is raised for the project will be destined to make Women of the War a reality. Donations can be made through the fundraising page where updates are being constantly published.

  • The
    Mujeres de la Guerra book is now for sale! The Mujeres
    de la Guerra book – part of a larger historical memory project including a
    documentary film and photography exhibit – includes the formal portraits and
    testimonies of 28 Salvadoran rural women, leaders and community
    organizers. Salvadoran women, teachers,
    nurses, organic farmers, presidents of community councils, founders of
    cooperatives and civil society organizations, share their powerful, moving, and
    inspiring stories in this book.

    If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the limited first-edition,
    please email Theodora Simon at mujeresdelaguerra@gmail.com.

    “Thank you for this
    opportunity to express the life that I’ve had… I hope that internationally,
    people will see this as an experience of Salvadoran life. This is the way we
    are as Salvadorans—we almost never let ourselves be defeated by the bad things
    that surround us, but we always want to carry on despite the challenges in our
    lives.” Excerpt from Mujeres de la Guerra, Historias de El Savlador.

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