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What Madre Means to Me: Alana Carstens

Over the holiday season, some of our long-time MADRE members have written to us telling us MADRE means to them. Alana Carstens is a former intern and long-time supporter. We’ve shared her thoughts with you below.

Madre. Mother.  How so simple word could be so complex amazes me.  It evokes power, compassion, nurture, and unconditional love.  It is no wonder MADRE has taken this name. The solidarity of women, of mothers, fighting for justice began and continues to carry this organization long after the Nicaraguan war that once sparked it.

Over the past few years, I have come to develop my own relationship with MADRE, joining the community of inspiring women who work tirelessly in the struggle for women’s rights.  My own mother has been a long time supporter of MADRE and was the first to introduce me to their work.  During my sophomore year in college she, my sister, and I joined one of MADRE’s delegation trips to Nicaragua.  As a Latin American Studies student I was long fascinated with the small country, its history, politics, and land, which was home to me and my family for a life-changing year when I was a toddler.  Traveling with MADRE was an experience beyond any I had ever imagined.  Driving hours through dirt roads, cruising down rivers in canoes, visiting some of the most remote indigenous communities, we got to hear the stories and see the lives that inspire MADRE’s work.

Alana (R) and MADRE partner Rose Cunningham of Wangki Tangni in Nicaragua.

When I worked as an intern with MADRE the following summer, I was able to connect my experience in the field with the work I did from the New York Office.  When so often one feels removed from the issues being worked on when they are happening somewhere else far away, I was able to see how my work with media and communications connected to the programs taking place with MADRE’s sister organizations.  Just as MADRE has helped grow and nurture awareness and movements internationally, MADRE introduced and grounded me in the fight for social justice which I continue today, exploring its multiple manifestations.  Keeping myself updated with MADRE through newsletters and web updates, I am continually impressed how this organization continues to collaborate with its sister organizations.

It is wonderful to see the forging and maintaining of horizontal partnerships keeping alive the fire of solidarity that started MADRE almost 30 years ago.