Cristina César, Section Commander, Angola
Cristina César joined HALO’s 100 Women in Demining in Angola Project to train as a deminer three years ago. Today, she is a Section Commander, responsible for her own teams in the minefield.
"In the beginning my family was afraid that I was working in demining, especially my aunt, who I used to live with. Unfortunately, she recently passed away and had been very sick for a while. Several times I have been absent from work because of her illness, but HALO was always supportive. However, my aunt was less so! She never agreed with my work and used to give me examples of people she knew who have lost limbs or died because of landmines. We disagreed, but I think she got used to it eventually. I currently work as a Section Commander, and the responsibility is greater than before. Because of this responsibility, I have to be an example, and cultivate good relationships within my colleagues."
"Like every woman, I have many plans to achieve great things! With the income from my work, my brothers and I managed to finish the construction of my mother's house. It is nothing big, but it is a home and a place that she can feel comfortable in. When I go to visit her and see how well she is living, and how much comfort and security the house brings her, knowing that I contributed to this makes me feel very emotional.
To all women, and to my colleagues, we must give thanks to God for the work we are doing. Despite being a very tiring job, we must be grateful for what we have, because there are many people who did not get this opportunity and we are lucky—we are still here because we did it. I know that it is not easy to leave families behind for such a long time each month, but it is for a good reason. We came looking for bread, but when we go home we will manage to take back something so much more to our families. It is worth being here instead of depending on someone's effort or being a burden to someone. We are independent.”
Thank you to World Without Mines for supporting this project.