Women are often the pillars of freedom in their communities.

And so it was in this village of quarry workers who had been enslaved for as long as anyone could remember.

Slaveholders burned down the homes of these villagers when they declared their freedom.

Many villagers wanted to give up .

The woman in front rallied her frightened neighbors and led them to freedom.

Grassroots activists helped the village get a quarry lease of their own.

The women say, ‘This is our quarry, we are the owners, we will never go back to slavery again.’

They do the same backbreaking work, but they get paid and they do it for themselves, in freedom.

It makes all the difference in the world.