For more than a decade, ELAWC’s pioneering Promotora programs have trained women to become paraprofessional community health workers, providing basic health education and support for women affected by interpersonal violence and HIV/AIDS. Their presence helps bridge cultural, language, and economic barriers.
Using a holistic, relational approach, ELAWC’s Promotora model empowers both the Promotora and the individuals she serves in the community. Working in homes, churches, schools, and other places where women meet, Promotoras are typically regarded as trusted and respected community leaders, making it easier to offer more effective, culturally sensitive education and interventions that result in better outcomes. By offering hope, education and encouragement, Promotoras inspire women to make choices that improve their lives by reaching them in the context of their daily lives, families, and community.
Women who work as Promotoras are diverse — from many Latin American countries and walks of life. Their culture, language, and life experiences uniquely qualify them to help others, especially women from similar backgrounds who are culturally and economically isolated. Many are inspired to become Promotoras because of their own life experiences. They want to be change agents, educating themselves to help others.
ELAWC trains Promotoras to teach prevention of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections, to build awareness for human rights, sexual, and domestic violence, and to help families navigate healthcare and social service systems. Promotoras select an area they are passionate about, build specific skills, and then take their knowledge to the community.
- Live in the community and share its values, culture, and language
- Understand the needs and challenges of others
- Have the heart, compassion, and readiness to help people in need
- Know how to communicate to foster healing and positive action
- Earn the respect of law enforcement officers, social workers, healthcare providers, and other professionals
- Are certified paraprofessionals – recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as vital members of the healthcare community.