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How One Woman Transformed a Village



Nestora Macia Perez is the eldest of 15 children born to poor farmers in San Rafael de los Trarais, a small desert community in Northern Mexico. Although the land is barely arable, most people subsist through farm work. With no income out of season, they are often low on food and malnourished. Many of the rural villages are without schools, clean water, roads or electricity.

Although Nestora’s family lived in poverty, her parents made tremendous sacrifices to help her attend school in Parras, Mexico. Upon completing her education, Nestora wanted to share the skills she’d gained with the people of San Rafael. Rosario Seguoia Lizcano, a staff member at Centro de Educación en Apoyo a la Producción y al Medio Ambiente, A.C. (CEP), inspired her with her own commitment to helping people in poverty learn to read and write. Equipped with an education and a positive role model, Nestora was empowered to lead.

Leading Adult Literacy


With support from Rosario and the Parras program team, Nestora planned and organized literacy and community improvement projects. She devoted herself to establishing literacy classes and facilitating discussions about issues such as health, nutrition, housing, and income generation. Nearly everyone in the village participated and within months, San Rafael had a one-room schoolhouse where residents attended literacy classes and developed ways to overcome local challenges. In just a few years, San Rafael was completely transformed.

Today, Nestora and her sister Guadalupe continue to conduct regular literacy classes for learners of all ages in the city of Parras and Jimenez. She works with learners to develop organic gardens, organize poultry and cattle cooperatives to generate income, and teach community health classes where learners gain knowledge about first aid, health, nutrition and sanitation practices.

Nestora has worked with CEP for over 15 years and continues to be an inspiration to so many learners. She serves as assistant director of the Parras program and provides training in literacy, planning and organizing to others in neighboring villages and towns.

As she teaches, learns, solves problems and builds leadership skills, Nestora Macia Perez helps bring lasting, positive change to rural communities in the state of Coahuila, Mexico.





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