Diana Vázquez: The smiling face of hope for at-risk women in Cuenca
By Tom Larsen
We need your help so that Diana Vázquez can attend the 4th World Conference of Women and Shelters in Taiwan, Nov 5 – 9, 2019.
Asociación Mujeres con Ėxito (Women with Success) and its parent organization, Fundación María Amor, provide shelter, childcare and job training for abused women. In a country where as many as six out of ten women have experienced some type of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, this is a badly needed service. Find out more about this important organization at: https://womenwithsuccess.org/
A smile is never far from Diana’s face, but her smile is never brighter than when she talks about her two passions—her family and her work with Casa Maria Amor/Mujeres con Ėxito.
“My husband Cristian and my son Tomás are my biggest supporters,” she says. “They understand my work and tolerate the many hours I put in. I can give myself with such passion because I know they are supporting me and are part of this struggle for Women’s Rights.”
“I think of my job as a gift, not just a way to earn a living. It is a way to use my skills and education to help people. The work has become a way of life to me. It has given me so much more awareness. The best part is that I can share my experience and knowledge with these women and help them to attain a better standard of living. I learn so much from them as well.”
Diana was born in Cuenca but lived in Riobamba from the age of five. Her father was a dentist and his job required the family to relocate there. After completing her basic and secondary education in Riobamba she returned to Cuenca to study at the University of Azuay, earning a degree in Hotel and Tourism with a specialty in Event Planning.
She worked as Reservations Coordinator and Wedding Planner at the Hotel Oro Verde for two years, followed by three years as Event Organizer and Head of Restaurants for the Cuenca Golf and Tennis Club.
In 2013 she found her true passion when she was hired by Fundación Casa Maria Amor, the parent organization of Mujeres con Ėxito. Her first job was to organize and conduct a tour for twenty-seven donors from Austria. The Austrian organization ultimately provided funding as well as physical labor for the construction of the current women’s shelter, allowing the women and children to move from their cramped quarters in El Centro.
Diana is currently the Director of Asociación Mujeres con Ėxito, where her primary job is to help women learn life skills and gain the confidence to make their way in the job market or the business community. The women currently operate a laundromat and a small restaurant at their downtown location. They also provide catering services.
“The economic autonomy of female survivors of violence is our main objective,” she says.
As if that job doesn’t provide enough challenges, Diana is also a co-director of Fundación Casa Maria Amor. International outreach and volunteer coordination are her primary focuses.
In recognition of her tireless efforts Diana has received a partial scholarship to make a presentation at the Fourth World Conference of Women’s Shelters in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, November 5-9, 2019: https://fourth.worldshelterconference.org/ Diana will be representing RIRE—Interamerican Network of Women’s Shelters.
Although this is a great personal honor and well-deserved recognition of her hard work, Diana sees it as an opportunity to shine a light on the problem here in Ecuador and hopefully attract new relationships, support and funding sources to help the organization achieve its mission.
The scholarship does not cover one hundred percent of the cost of a trip such as this. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so through PayPal: email@example.com. The organization is also having a Trinkets, Treasures and Treats sale on Oct. 4 and 5 from 11-3 pm. If you would like to donate items you are no longer using, drop them off at Mujeres or call Diana to arrange pickup. For every $5 in cash donated, you will receive a ticket for our drawing. Prizes include a Vega Lamp, two dozen Roses, a bottle of wine, an awesome hat and a beautiful scarf all courtesy of Melody Crabb.
Drop off your donations at: Baltazara de Calderón 2-26 y Bolívar, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Or call Diana at 098 474 7919 to arrange pickup.
Tom Larsen is a Cuenca expat author. Read his new short mystery “Aliento del Diablo” set in Cuenca, in the September/October Issue of “Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine” or follow him on Amazon.