Highlights from our Regions: Latin America & the Caribbean
By Susie Pek, regional coordinator for Latin America and Caribbean
Stretching over 7,000 miles from Mexico to Argentina, Latin America is a region that embraces a wide range of cultures and traditions. From mountains to tropical landscapes, it is a varied land of tremendous beauty. Latinos are known for their warmth and inviting spirit toward friends and strangers alike, and this hospitality often includes dancing and an abundance of flavorful food.
The impact of Spain and Portugal on Latin America cannot be overstated. According to Study.com, most of the countries within this region had been colonized by these superpowers until the early 1800s and their influence reaches deep into the culture to include religion, language and even food. While Spanish is dominant in most of Latin America, with variations among countries in word choice and pronunciation, Portuguese is the majority language of gigantic Brazil. The current population of Latin America and the Caribbean is 661,376,607.
This beautiful and diverse region still holds many challenges for its women. Although women are rapidly entering the job market, they face issues of salary inequity and harassment in relation to their male co-workers. Many women have earned university degrees and higher, but others still have little to no access to education. Despite laws against domestic violence and sexual abuse, many women in Latin America and the Caribbean continue to suffer from these cruelties. While lockdown measures were deemed vital in stopping the spread of COVID-19, being confined to home puts girls and women at heightened risk of violence.
Our women need hope. Our women need the Lord. And so, through TWR Women of Hope, we bring hope to them through radio programs in five languages covering 24 countries. Prayer calendars in Portuguese go to Brazil and Africa, while calendars translated into Spanish reach countries in Latin America as well as in Europe, Africa and the U.S. We touch women’s lives through the prison ministry at Buen Pastor prison in Paraguay and through women’s conferences, our newly launched devotional book, and even a Portuguese sign-language channel that ministers to the deaf community.
The next generation is being reached as our many teams, including a new one in the Dominican Republic, reach out through social media. It is our desire and prayer that more women will join us in bringing hope to Latin American and Caribbean women across generations.