Find your NO. Live your YES.

We are Mujeres Fuertes.  As a Costa Rican-based social business, we are dedicated to supporting women, children, and all people to live lives free from fear and full of confidence through holistic self-defense workshops. 

Our fundraiser seeks to raise sufficient funds to cover 2 years of operations and development. To reach more people, we need to develop our team of instructors and administrators to organize more trainings in more places. We want to realize our goal of being self-sustaining so that we can reach exponentially more people with our self-defense methodology.

Give me the cliff notes, please!

  • Support a holistic self-defense project based in Costa Rica to scale up, become self-sustainable, and ensure long-term impact! (Think tens of thousands of students reached with our violence prevention methodology, at least.)
  • Our goal: $60,000 
  • What it will achieve: a 2-year runway to cover all operating and development costs
  • The pitch: Change lives. Prevent violence. Help us build a thriving community centered on empowerment and healing.
  • What’s the catch? There is none! 100% of your donation will go towards realizing our vision for delivering our self-defense training at a MUCH bigger scale! (Even if we don’t hit our full goal, we will be on our way.)

State of the Holistic Self-Defense Revolution: Donor & Ally Update

A huge thank you to all who joined us for our end-of-year ‘State of the Holistic Self-Defense Revolution’ event! And another huge thank you to the donors, allies and mentors who have made it possible to come so far in just a few short years!

What is Mujeres Fuertes Autodefensa (Strong Women Self-Defense)?

Mujeres Fuertes is a Costa Rican-based social business dedicated to supporting women, children, and all people to live lives free from fear and full of confidence. Our holistic self-defense methodology connects our participants with a sense of power, freedom and agency through physical skills, communication strategies, mindfulness practices, and healing arts and connection. We offer profoundly transformative experiences, with a unique perspective on self-defense, empowerment, and learning.

We work with various community, organizational and corporate allies to bring our holistic self-defense methodology to as many people as possible.

In the interest of scaling our impact, since 2022 we have begun to shift our focus towards training trainers. Our yearly instructor training program prepares people of all backgrounds to confidently teach holistic self-defense in their communities.

For the past 5 years, with plenty of help from incredible friends and allies in Costa Rica and around the world, I have sustained taken Mujeres Fuertes as a passion project. We have not generated enough income to regularly pay a team, so our team has been largely volunteer-based, and fueled by a lot of love, but very few monetary resources. 

Despite such limited resources, we have managed to:

  • Run an “empowerment tour” of Costa Rica, visiting 11 locations in just 2 weeks to deliver 12 introductory ESD workshops.
  • Produced a documentary about the tour and about our violence prevention methodology with an all-women production team and a crowdfunded micro-budget.
  • Deliver thousands of hours of self-defense training around Costa Rica, and around Central America.
  • Reached thousands of students of all ages and social backgrounds.
  • Provided scholarships, work exchanges, or low-cost access to those who could not afford to participate at-cost.
  • Developed an online course that provides our full self-defense methodology at a low cost to anyone with an internet connection and a personal device.
  • Cultivated a community of students, allies and friends who are as passionate about our violence prevention work as we are.
  • Trained our first generation of holistic self-defense instructors in Costa Rica (10 women trained in 2022, and another 10+ to be trained in September of 2023).

All of this because we believe deeply and fiercely in the value of this work. We don’t just dream of a world free from violence, where all people live with the freedom and confidence to exist as they are and move through the world however they desire… we work to make that world a reality every single day.

The Catch 22: Without the resources to pay a team, we are stuck at a flexion point. 

To reach more people, we need a proper team of instructors and administrators to organize more trainings in more places. To become truly self-sustaining, and ultimately to thrive, we need more clients—schools, districts, businesses and NGOs that wish to offer regular Empowerment Self-Defense (ESD) classes. To realize our vision, we need two things:

  1. More instructors fully trained and ready to give workshops on their own, first in Costa Rica, then around the region, and maybe one day… all over the world! (In the works as we speak! In the first days of August 2023, we ran a 2-day training with 6 of our most dedicated new instructors to provide additional training, strengthen our community ties, and get reenergized and re-inspired. In December of 2023 we ran the First National Gathering of Holistic Self-Defense Instructors in Costa Rica. We hope to make it an annual or bi-annual event to deepen our network and keep training up.)
  2. Money to pay our team to conduct outreach, manage social media, administrate our online and in-person workshops, provide ongoing professional training for our instructors, and cultivate community with regular gatherings and spaces for practice and support.

Where will your money go?

I believe in paying people what they deserve for the work they do. To realize this vision for a scaled-up project that can reach exponentially more people with our self-defense methodology and ultimately sustain itself (by holding onto a percentage of all fees charged for workshops and courses to pay our team and other organizational costs).

“I dream of making a living doing what I would do for free.”

—Mariel Carmona, long-time Mujeres Fuertes assistant, dear friend, and one of the first generation of instructors trained by Mujeres Fuertes in 2022.

Every cent of your donation (with the exception of the transaction fees charged by this platform) will go towards the operating costs outlined below. All team members have been involved in this project for years and have demonstrated their passion for and commitment to its long-term success. What’s more, all administrative team members, as well as those in training to become members of our instructor team, are Costa Rican women, the right people to carry Mujeres Fuertes into its most sustainable, mission-centered and ethically aligned future.

This fundraiser seeks to raise sufficient funds to cover 2 years of operations and development. Even if we do not reach this goal, any amount will support our ongoing sustainability and bring us closer to our long-term vision.

We are a firmly anti-capitalist social business wholly unfit for traditional investment (registered in Costa Rica), and you can be assured that every cent of your contribution will go towards paying our team what they deserve to earn for the work they are driven to do by purpose, passion, and the belief that a more beautiful world is possible.

With a two-year runway to conduct ongoing outreach, build client relationships and partnerships, and level up our digital marketing, we believe that this project can become self-sustaining, thus potentiating the scaling of our impact–first in Costa Rica, then in Central America, and finally… taking over the world! (But, you know, in a non-violent, feminist kind of way. 😉 )

Currently, our only source of revenue is workshop participant or client fees, most of which goes to pay facilitators. Most workshops are offered on a sliding scale for payment, because we want this material to be accessible to everyone. And so, while we are not a nonprofit, we operate with a mission-first value system.

You Can Make THE Difference

See our fundraiser page (or watch the video above) for the full breakdown of our projected costs and growth strategy.

I am asking YOU for your support to realize the full potential of this project. We have done so much already, and… it is only the beginning. Mujeres Fuertes (Strong Women) has already reached thousands with a research-backed violence prevention methodology, holistic healing arts, and meaningful networks of community and support. Now, we want to reach tens of thousands… to start!

Will you help us to change lives, prevent violence, and build a future of peace, empowerment, and connection?

Thank you so much for your support!