Stories of Girls’ Resistance
Jinna, Honduras


“I think that at some point the helplessness I felt, not only for my reality, for my family but for other groups, strengthened my desire, my participation and involvement with these spaces. So what this resistance implied in me is strength, more commitment. ”

Jinna’s Story

I remember how amazed I was when I found out that Jinna, at one point, was going to become a nun. I couldn’t believe it, and I thought: How is that possible? I thought she was joking with us. The girls and I would ask her many questions about the bible to find out if she was lying. We could tell that she was telling the truth because she never laughed. She had memorised many parabolas from the bible and knew about every book from the catholic church.

We didn’t understand how somebody who does workshops about sexual and reproductive rights used to be on the path to becoming a nun. It was such a big surprise.  We asked her how it was possible that, after being in the process to become a nun,  she could talk about the right to choose. She answered with her calm tone: “I believe in the processes, the good processes. Even though it is true that my religious background is pretty strong, I empowered myself with knowledge of different topics. I also was able to analyse and be reflexive, and to  generate a huge conscience about women’s rights, being the ones that suffer the most violence amongst society.”

That day, when the workshop was over and Jinna had to leave, some of us stayed to talk about the huge surprise that caused us to find out about the alternate path that she could have taken. We also talked about how much of what she had said made a lot of sense to us. Based on previous conversations we had with her, we knew that she was very aware of the different lived realities in the country because she stayed in other sister communities like the one located at Lempira. There, she worked with boys and girls experiencing homelessness.

The more we talked about it, the more we wanted to know why she had thought about becoming a nun and what made her change her mind. We decided that we would ask her to share her story with us. We met and gathered with Jinna and asked her if she could tell us her story. She kindly agreed.

Jinna was born in the neighborhood of Las  Crucitas in Tegucigalpa. It was a family atmosphere surrounded by her mom and dad, grandmother, and uncles. She told us that she lived through a tough transition between the age of 8 and 15. When she was seven years old, her mother had to migrate illegally to the United States of America. Even though her dad was left in charge, he would start to consume alcohol. Due to her father’s struggles, she had to become the adult of the family as she was the older sister. She was worried about her little brother’s care and their emotions, and tried to keep them as far away as she could from the streets.

We expressed our great admiration because she was sharing such deep parts of her story. We asked her how she faced that situation at such a young age. She told us that learning about her reality helped a lot because, in addition to her mom being away, her economic situation turned very precarious. Being conscious of the context, she was very focused on doing well in school.  After watching her situation at home, a neighbor recommended her to join a youth group.

Although she was not sure, she decided to go. She confessed that she liked being out of her house, being in a different reality, and forgetting a little bit about what her family was going through. She liked connecting with other young girls and boys. Listening to their realities was something that helped her go through her problems. It also helped her to think that she was not the only one with problems. It enabled her to notice the existence of many people who were facing difficult situations. Listening to those stories motivated her to continue to participate in those groups.

After that experience, she went on to coordinate groups and feel the need to take this commitment further. From that time, she remembers some of her treasured memories visiting several communities across the country. Specifically, Indigenous ethnic Tolupanes, whom she lived with for three months. By living in the reality of the Tolupanes, she was able to build a broader conscience regarding social problems. Upon returning home, she began to appreciate the importance of a house, of food, and shared the lessons with her brother. As she shared: “when you stop being blindfolded, you leave your comfort zone. At some point, the impotence felt over my reality, and the one felt for other groups will strengthen my desire, participation, and involvement in those spaces. At that moment, this resistance transformed into a stronger commitment and strength.”

Through her journey towards becoming a nun, she recognised the fundamental difficulties of that path and how her work was focused on social work.  Since then, she hasn’t stopped her labor to contribute to changing the things that she considers unfair. She volunteered with boys and girls experiencing homelessness for three years. She also lived for a year in an Indigenous rural zone to work on gender equality topics with girls and boys in vulnerable situations, which led her to learn about the difficulties that Honduran girls face to develop to their full capacity due to oppressive gender norms. Upon returning to the capital, she worked on sexual and reproductive rights. For the last seven years, she has continued her work on sexual and reproductive rights and serves as a university professor and Director of Young Action Honduras. She also coordinates coalition spaces and platforms.

As we think about the most pressing issues facing girls and women, I reflect on some of Jinna’s wisdom: “We need to rethink how we reach the most marginalised populations.  Because they are the ones that are facing and going through the most difficult realities around sexual violations and deprivation of their rights. We need to believe in girls and reach them where they are. We need to educate ourselves. We need to take conscience and have the necessary elements to face different problems. We need to be consistent with our doing and saying if we accompany processes because that could give hope to the girls for and who we work with.”