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Lions Roar : May 2007
GLORIA, 24 (below). Suipira, Ecuador. Gloria is widely respected as one of the first female leaders in her community. At age eighteen, by sheer force of personality, she convinced the fiercely independent members of her community to unite and fix their age-old water problems. They had long suffered from water-borne illnesses, an inconsistent water supply, and fights over access to the village’s only spring. Seeking a remedy, Gloria generated a workable budget ($37,000) and convinced CARE to donate the necessary materials for a sophisticated water-treatment system. She then organized more than seventy “mingas” (community work parties) to dig miles of trenches and assemble the system. Suipira now has the most sophisticated water system in the area—an incredible achievement, especially for a young woman in this culture. GENESIS, 4 (right). Thanks to Gloria’s work, her daughter Genesis will be safe from contaminated water. In the past, young children often died of dysentery and other water-borne diseases. SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2007 67