Women Who Inspire Change: Evelyn Roquel
David Horn, Guest Contributor
Evelyn Roquel is a family planning educator at WINGS. She spends her days traveling around small villages in central Guatemala conducting educational workshops on reproductive health and family planning. Evelyn provides individual counseling to women about their reproductive rights and tells them how they can positively change their own lives and the lives of their families.
Evelyn often meets resistance, as contraceptive use and family planning threaten the religious and conservative social norms of many traditional Mayan women living around Lake Atitlán. Despite these barriers, she perseveres with patient determination, and over time helps the women to understand that they have the right to control their bodies and can do so safely.
Since 2000, WINGS has partnered with IPPF/WHR's Member Association in Guatemala, APROFAM, which is the country’s largest private provider of reproductive health services. As part of this mutually beneficial relationship, WINGS subsidizes longterm and permanent contraceptive methods provided by APROFAM’s nationwide network of stationary and mobile clinics, making it affordable for the women Evelyn counsels to receive care. In return, WINGS’ educators like Evelyn promote APROFAM's health services and help to ensure access to high-quality services.
Through this partnership, Evelyn has changed the lives of thousands of Guatemalan women who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to plan their families.