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Thursday, March 16, 2006

  • 6:54 AM
Self-satisfaction and the pleasure of helping others are among the rewards volunteers receive for their time and dedication to a cause. As Leaders, our hearts glow every time we find out that we were able to help a nursing couple. That knowledge is more than enough to brighten our day. But every now and then, one of our colleagues receives more than that.

One day in 2004, Guatemalan Leader Mimi de Maza received an unexpected phone call. Somebody from the Women's Peacepower Foundation was telling her that she had won the Women of Peace Award. At first Mimi didn't understand what was going on. She comments:

I told the woman who was calling that there must be a mistake, that I was not an award-winning type of person. But she reassured me that indeed I was, that I had been nominated and selected among a group of women. Then I cried tears of joy and happiness.

Mimi received a beautiful silver necklace with a dove and the engraving "Woman of Peace," $250 (US), a pin, and a shirt with the logo of the Foundation. But what she treasures most is the diploma that reads:

For all the time you've spent thinking, dreaming, planning, and creating ways to make your world a better place to live. For all the times you thought you were just an everyday, ordinary person, but somehow you pushed beyond what you had been told you could accomplish. For all the times you have spoken up for what you believe in. For the financial risks you have taken. For the inner courage you manage to rely on even when you don't think you have any courage. For keeping a sense of humor, even when things looked bad. For bringing hope to us all because of your commitment.

The Women's Peacepower Foundation, Inc., declares Irma "Mimi" de Maza to be a Woman of Peace.

Mimi has been a Leader for 20 years. She found LLL when she was breastfeeding her fourth child. Mimi has been very active training peer counselors not only in Guatemala, but also in other parts of the world, such as Ghana. She has been Regional Administrator of Leaders for Latin America and just stepped off the LLLI Board of Directors where she was a member for the past six years.

When asked what receiving this award means to her, Mimi said:

Everything I have been able to accomplish in the field of breastfeeding and infant feeding I have learned in LLL. I owe all my experience, knowledge, and inspiration to this organization. La Leche League is part of my life, my being, my family, and my work. This award has intensified my commitment to LLL, to my country, and to the mothers and babies for which I work.

Congratulations, dear Mimi, for this recognition. You make us proud! The Women of Peace Award is awarded annually to "selfless, passionate individuals working to empower women through innovative programs." If you want to learn more about the Women Peace Power Foundation, visit www.womenspeacepower.org
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