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Celmira Jara - Santiago, Chile

Submitted by Alexandra Iriarte - Goteborg, Sweden and now NYC, USA

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She is one of the anonymous fighters, despite being at the bottom, she made the bar (lawyer) in her 60s and fights for the "has-not".

Celmira is an inspiration for those fighting against the odds. She was born in a then very unequal and poverty stricken South American country; as a girl child, she fought for the opportunity to access education, a key to changes. Inspired by the collective dreams of the 60s, she became one of the anonymous women fighting in the dark, the ones that handed out the fliers, cooked the community soup, got the husbands out of jail and fought with bare hands against a dictatorship, despite going through torture and threats against her children. Forced to flee the country, she kept the work going in exile, organized fund raising, cultural events, fought discrimination and spread the word about changing the world in community radios. She took up her studies again, and passed the bar at 60, inspiring both women and men and fighting for the "has-not", the ones that the system often discriminate, as always her call.

This story was submitted as part of Oxam America's International Women's Day initiative to honor women working to right the wrongs of poverty and hunger. Honorees are selected independently by Oxfam supporters. Selection does not imply endorsement or other support from Oxfam America.

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