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Global Outreach Trip Makes Women’s Issues Central

Eight members of the Fordham community visited Nicaragua last month to learn about how women’s empowerment and feminist movements have influenced politics in the Central American nation.

The group—two Fordham College at Rose Hill students, five Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) students, and a chaperone—stayed in Managua, the country’s capital, and Estelí, a town just outside the Miraflor nature preserve.

From March 17-24, the Global Outreach (GO) group, which partnered with the Center for Global Education at Augsburg College, spent its time visiting cultural sites and learning about the country’s history.

The group visited a theater cooperative that gives women a creative outlet for sharing their stories, and a shelter for abused women. They also met with entrepreneur Tio Antonio, who employs deaf and mute workers at a hammock factory in Granada, and with representatives of Vega Coffee, a female-owned coffee cooperative in Mariflor.

Molly Hellauer, an FCLC senior majoring in political science and communications, said she’d resisted doing a GO trip until this year, but that the focus of the trip and the schedule during spring break convinced her to give it a try. The native of Shelton, Connecticut currently interns with the National Organization for Women.

“Advocating for the rights of women and girls and women’s equality is something that’s very near and dear to my heart, so it just seemed natural to do a project that focused on that issue,” she said.

She said that meeting with political activist Suyen Barahona was the highlight of her trip.

“Her activism has been focused on empowering people and organizing, and it was very inspiring in the ways she’s used the privileges in her life to advocate for others and work toward equality,” Hellauer said.

For Stephen McGowan, an admissions associate at the Graduate School of Social Service who served as chaperone, the trip was his ninth GO trip—and unique in both its destination and focus.

“As the only male on the project, it was definitely a unique experience and something that opened my eyes to my own male privilege in ways that I wouldn’t have necessarily been exposed to back home,” he said.


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