Red de Sanadoras de Abya Yala, Santa Lucía, Honduras

The Spiritual is Political

This network taps into its ancestral and spiritual roots to create a supportive space for Honduran women activists.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the lives of people around the world – we searched for spaces to connect and to help navigate the restrictions, uncertainty, and fear, even if we could not come together in person. In Honduras, where social conditions have been especially challenging, few spaces existed to nurture connection and wellbeing, especially for young women.

The Red de Sanadoras de Abya Yala (Healing Network of Abya Yala) was created in response to these challenges. In 2020, a group of young Honduran women realized that meeting virtually to meditate and talk about their experiences in the pandemic helped them relax and move through the pandemic with better tools. For these women, accustomed to working, caring for their homes and driving change through social movements, this was also an intentional space to break the usual cycle of productivity and focus on their spiritual well-being.

For the founders of the network, the spiritual is political. From this perspective, they built an organization not only to address their needs during the crisis, but to realize a long-term vision to reclaim their connection to their ancestral communities and their land outside of the oppressive systems they grew up with. In addition, they incorporated ‘Abya Yala’ into their name, a term that comes from the indigenous Guna people of Panama and Colombia and translates as ‘tierra en plena madurez’ (‘land in full maturity’). The name is also often used to signal respect for the inhabited land as part of decolonization efforts.

After pandemic restrictions were lifted in Honduras, the network established a physical space for its members to meet, hold workshops, ceremonies and rituals. Casa Abya Yala opened in 2021 in Santa Lucia, a peaceful respite in the hills above Tegucigalpa. It offers community workshops on spiritual and emotional well-being, advocacy trainings, yoga classes and therapy sessions with psychologists that benefit Honduran activists. It also has a community market and a podcast recording set.

CAMY Fund has been a partner of the Red de Sanadoras since its inception. This alliance is based on respect for the organization’s growth path, as well as for its wisdom and its political commitment to spirituality and to the defense of human rights. In the year 2023, the Red de Sanadoras accompanied CAMY Fund in a meeting with grantees, in which they facilitated practices linked to Mayan cosmology and other ancestral traditions, to honor and defend the territories body and earth.

In its four years of existence, the Red de Sanadoras has evolved. They have adjusted their methodologies, paused their work when necessary and learned the importance of assertive communication and delegation of tasks. Despite the challenges, the healers are proud to bring a unique collective perspective to the healing and care of their network members, especially supporting young women who are building and rebuilding their own spirituality from a political stance, and continue their vital support for women and girls.