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Aerial image of an Asháninka village in the rainforest.

International Women’s Day – #PushForProgress

Cool Earth knows there’s a direct link between empowered communities and reduced deforestation. But without equality, social and economic growth for women is often slow. That’s why we’re focusing on the women in our rainforest partnerships. From setting up healthcare and sanitation projects to founding income-generating cooperatives, the strong women we work with in Peru, Papua New Guinea and the DR Congo are driving long lasting change. And that means more rainforest safe and sound.

This International Women’s Day we are showcasing two inspiring individuals in Cool Earth’s Asháninka partnership

Adelaida and Chabucca are two of the older Bustamante sisters and daughters of the Cutivireni Chief, Cesar Bustamante. Born and raised in Cutivireni, Adelaida’s passion for helping others started young, and she became one of the few women who bravely left to train as a nurse in Cuba. Returning to Cutivireni, she teamed up with Cool Earth to work as a health promoter making a difference to the future of hundreds of local families. This wonder woman takes a pivotal role in the community health and sanitation programme and has spread her knowledge and skills to women in outlying villages.

Adelaida Bustamante

“To me, the forest means my beautiful home which gives me all my food, oxygen and money.”

Portrait of Adelaida, She is smiling and wears a pink dress, with her hair pulled into a side ponytail with matching pink hair scrunchy , she holds a baby in her arms

Chabucca, the eldest sister, stayed in Cutivireni and became the first female president of the Tsimi community association. She’s also the best advocate of the nutrition programme, having got all of her children eating vegetables – no mean feat in the Asháninka. Chabucca has also taken in an orphaned girl, Gladys, and raised her as her own daughter.

Chabucca Bustamante

“I would like to see my children become professionals so that they can help the community. Since joining with Cool Earth, health, education and cacao trading has improved.”Portrait of Chabucca, she is laughing and wears a sky blue outfit and has a small child on her lap

Both Adelaida and Chabucca also play leading roles in Jeto, an all-women cooperative built to help women gain access to their own finances and provide for their family. It’s often a challenge to balance the need for progress in areas such as healthcare and nutrition with cultural traditions and norms. But thanks to our brilliant supporters, and to community champions like Adelaida and Chabucca, we are seeing real, lasting change for women in Cool Earth’s Asháninka partnership.

Two women from the Asháninka community, they wear pink dress, one lady is smiling while the other lady covers her mouth. It is a bright scene.