It was Sister Nelly Leon Correa, head of the chaplaincy of the women's prison of San Joaquín in Chile, the winner of the recognition of the Comunidad Mujer organisation which annually awards the institution or the person who has distinguished themselves for their work on behalf of women. Cilena, the forty eight year old Sister Nelly (who is a member of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, committed to vulnerable persons) created the foundation Levantate Mujer (Woman Standing Up) that supports women in prison. In Santiago alone the inmates (imprisoned mainly for the small-scale trafficking of drugs) are in all about 1,400, coming from Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Argentina. In addition to the individual relationship and listening, Sister Nancy (who has been engaged in this field for nine years) takes care of the practical needs of the inmates and contacts with their families. 3 other religious (from other institutions) and 35 lay people work with her. In Santiago, she relates, "we have also started a collaboration with students in their last year of law at the Catholic University for inmates who can not afford to pay for a lawyer and therefore need legal aid." In prison, the situation is particularly critical for women with mental health problems: "There is no separate place where they can live: they are with all the others, with no chance of being taken care of. As a chaplaincy we are asking for a protected space for them, also to stem the violence that may arise. " In the field of human rights and violence against women, on the other hand, the lawyer Paulina Maturana Vivero has been singled out. Finally a recognition for social commitment to women, for entrepreneur Esther Rosa Salazar: owner of a factory that manufactures protective clothing for miners, who has employed a hundred inmates of the prison in the port city of Antofagasta.
St. Peter’s Square
Dec. 11, 2019
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