September 27, 2019
How joining a social auditing group inspired a woman to pursue a university degree
One morning, Mrs. Karol Rodríguez heard about the opportunity to attend community gatherings in a local church. During these “Coffee Afternoons,” AJS offered space for community members to express the needs they saw in their community and collaborate to raise their collective voice. These meetings were part of AJS’s research to prepare for community auditing of local public schools and health clinics. We knew that for this effort to be successful, we needed to hear from the people most affected by teachers not showing up to class or doctors not filling prescriptions.
During the first meetings, Karol appeared shy and too scared to speak, but she still decided to continue attending every single meeting, because she had a dream that the local school and health clinic would give her three children the quality services they deserved.
When she heard about the opportunity to be a community auditor, Karol admitted to our staff that she didn’t see how she could add any value to the project. She felt that her situation of poverty, lack of education, and the issues in her family prevented her from being able to contribute. Sadly, this is a common belief among some community members, especially those who only completed primary education or those with limited literacy. These insecurities are a deeper reflection of the needs that AJS’s work can help address, ones that are often rooted in several generations.
An additional barrier was Karol’s location. The sector where Karol currently lives is considered one of the most dangerous within her community, causing her to feel withdrawn and afraid, and to avoid leaving her home as much as possible.
Karol keeps attending meetings with other volunteer auditors, though. In every meeting, our team makes sure that community members had a safe space, where they feel spiritually strengthened and empowered to assume a leadership role in their community. These community auditors, in turn, promote the right to receive quality services and care in their neighborhood.
The community auditing training Karol has received has helped her reflect on her own value as a human being. Understanding all her potential and her interaction with the AJS team leading the community auditing project sparked an interest in social work and inspired her to enroll in university! She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in social work.
In the mornings, Karol works sweeping the streets in her community, but in the afternoons she goes to her university classes. She receives excellent grades, all while also caring for her three little children and actively volunteering as an auditor. Her role as a mother has inspired Karol to be part of the community auditing project, wanting to assure a better future for both her and her children.
Our work in community auditing has revealed the hidden abilities and passion of our volunteers, who always go the extra mile for the project. For auditors like Karol, this is not only a project, but also an opportunity for a brighter future for their families. As they thrive, we get to thrive alongside them as we work in hope for a better future in Honduras.