Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MA in Women's History


Women’s History Graduate Program


This thesis presents sites of violence and despair as engines of opportunity and social transformation through the endeavors of the Butterflies with New Wings Building a Future, an organization that works to improve the lives of women victims of violence in Buenaventura, Colombia. This thesis places the Butterflies in the broader context of the Colombian armed conflict, in and beyond Buenaventura, and uses their own words and experiences to explain their perspectives, experiences, and strategies for change. This thesis explores the ways in which this organization is awakening hope in individuals and communities who have lost it, rebuilding bonds that the war broke, helping women not only to heal the wounds of their experiences with violence but also to transform themselves into agents of social change, and creating mechanisms for reconciliation in communities profoundly affected by armed conflict.