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    Story 4  Elba Dina Ochoa
  
 Community Health Leaders Empowered as Human Rights Educators - Elba Dina Ochoa & Acción Médica Cristiana
By Alex Devoid
 
Elba Dina Ochoa is a 30 year-old midwife.  She is from in Banacruz, a community located in the department of Rosita in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) of Nicaragua.  The RAAN is among the country’s most impoverished regions with limited access to health care.
 
Acción Médica Cristiana (AMC) works all across Nicaragua to educate about human rights.  As a Christian, ecumenical health and development organization, the rights of women and children are at the forefront of the organization’s ministry.  AMC’s educational model is to teach community leaders like midwives about health and social topics and health as a right for all, not a privilege for just a few.  They strive to empower theseleaders to educate their community. Elba has participated with AMC in this capacity for three years.
As a midwife, Elba he has learned how to contest violence against women.  Elba says, “When women are mistreated I support them.  It should not be like this because both men and women have the same rights.  They cannot violate us or our rights because we are humans.”
 
Communities as a whole do not always treat single pregnant women fairly.  Elba says, “There are women that have been abused and when a midwife delivers their baby the woman thinks that the she will scold them.”  AMC teaches midwives to attend to everyone and that women often have little control over their sexual and reproductive help but are subject to a male’s demands or abuse.  Elba admits, “Before, I didn't like to help. I saw single pregnant women and thought that they must be leading a promiscuous lifestyle and that they deserved to be pregnant.”  She continues, “Today, AMC tells us that we don't know what circumstances have led that woman to be pregnant.  AMC has told us that we should help because there are women who are violated or abused.”
AMC also educates communities on children’s rights.  When there is an environment of violence and abuse towards women children can suffer as well.  AMC has taught midwives to warn women about abuse, physical or verbal, against their children.  Elba says, “Before, sometimes I would say hurtful things and words to my children. Through AMC I learned that children can start believing the hurtful things said to them.”
 
Elba shares what she learns with her community and especially with young girls.  She says, “The more I study with AMC and the more knowledge I gain, the more young girls I can help get out of poverty.  Because poverty is having limited thoughts, like only thinking about giving your virginity to a certain guy or using drugs.  My goal is to give advice to these young girls and tell them to think about their future because their future is their tomorrow.”
 
 
 
 

Alex Devoid was assigned to AMC as a Mission Intern of the United Methodist Church from August 2011 to January 2013. He spent several months in the RAAN interviewing and documenting stories to demonstrate the human impact of AMC's work. Link to more stories in left menu   Read Alex's missionary biography and his blog.