Local Heroes Spotlight: Laura
Our local staff are the real heroes behind the life-changing work we do in Peru and Uganda. They are passionate about seeing their community change and are tirelessly at work to make sure they leave the place better than when they got there. Each one of them possesses an intimate knowledge of their culture that they use to provide the highest level of services to the women we care for. Over the next few weeks we want you to meet a few of these local heroes.
--- --- --- --- ---Laura Lizarzaburu has been with us since the early days. Her vision and leadership has helped Krochet Kids Peru (KKP) grow into the impact-driven organization it is today. Every day she invests her immense passion into fulfilling the mission of Krochet Kids Intl. Laura mentors the largest group of women in Peru and is in charge of training the new mentors we bring on. It would be an understatement to say that she is a very valuable member of our team in Peru. What’s your full name? Laura Isabella Lizarzaburu Otiniano Cats or Dogs? Dogs. I love dogs. I don’t like cats much. Sunny or Rainy? I like just a little bit of each. What were you doing before you came to Krochet Kids Peru (KKP)? I was a lead counselor at my church where I cared for people who were going through really hard times. I was also involved with our prison ministry. I would go to the hall where some of the most dangerous women in Peru were held, but as I got to know them I could see they were eager to change. They left a profound impact on my life. Why KKP? I’ve always wanted to serve people. I’m always looking for opportunities to do that to the best of my ability. A friend of mine who was working with KKP at the time shared with me about KKP's vision for the local community and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. It seems like serving people is an important part of your life. Where does that come from? I’ve gone through some very challenging times in my life. I had to endure some awful situations that somewhere along the way robbed me of hope for a better future. In the end I made it out of those hard times, and looking back on it I realized that overcoming those challenges left me a more confident and empowered woman. I yearn for that same experience for others now. People carry around such big burdens, much like I did, but the truth is that there is hope for them. There is freedom. What is your favorite part about your role at KKP? I love that I have the opportunity to establish relationships with the women I mentor. Every day I get to be a positive influence in their lives. I see myself as a strategic partner in their empowerment. What are you learning right now? I’m learning how complex we are as humans. There is no one strategy for empowerment. Each woman needs a unique strategy that is custom-tailored to her circumstances. More than anything I’ve learned to listen and try to understand where people are at in life. There is no silver bullet for poverty, only unique strategies for individuals. Someday I’m going to write a book on everything that I’ve learned as a mentor. I’m going to call my theory ‘Laurita’. What’s a KKP moment that you are proud of? I’m proud of the change that I’m seeing in all of my mentees, but one in particular stands out to me right now. Jacque came under my mentorship after I had worked at KKP for about 6 months. I could see that she was a very challenging woman to work with. With her past mentor she would float through her mentorship sessions and was unresponsive to any help that was offered. When Jacque came under my care I knew I had to figure out a way to break through the walls she was putting up. I had a feeling that she would open up to me if she knew me so I stopped asking questions and started talking about myself. I would talk about my life, my family and what I was going through. Jacque started to trust me as she got to know me. Now we communicate very naturally. We have a mutual trust and can work towards her empowerment together. We don’t always agree on everything, but Jacque has learned that I’m here for her. What’s one thing that you want people to know about KKP? There is so much behind the products that we make. Every product is hand-signed and therefore carries a beautiful story of holistic change. What drives you? I definitely think my purpose in life is to empower women. I’ve known that for a long time. I believe the experiences I’ve gone through have brought me here. I was poor, depressed and had some very challenging relationships in my life. In many ways my life fell apart. But I’ve always thought I went through all that to be empowered and to use those experiences to help others empower themselves. I wouldn’t change what I went through because now I feel very useful to my community.