Today is International Women’s Day–a day set aside to celebrate women, but to also be mindful of the unique needs of women around the world. This year is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and a day to celebrate victories in the past century for women, but to be mindful of how much more is needed. Michelle Bachelet, UN Women Executive Director, has a wonderful message today giving a brief history on where we’ve been and how far we have to go.
The focus this year, as chosen by the UN, is equal access to education, especially in science and technology. Covenant World Relief is deeply committed to the empowerment of women and we have several active projects empowering and educating women. Will you join us by supporting our ministry of empowering women?
In Bangladesh, there is a pressing need for clean water and sanitation. Clean water not only promotes community health, but when women do not have to spend as much time on daily tasks (cooking, cleaning, household chores), they are freed to pursue education and even to work outside of the home.
Central African Republic
Our project in the Central African Republic is focused on agriculture and provides scientific training and education specifically for women on how to grow sustainable, nutritious crops. The project employees one woman specifically to form women’s groups in the surrounding villages to train other women in these new agricultural techniques.
The Colombia egg project provides a safe place for girls (and boys) who have struggled with substance abuse to receive an education and a new start on life. By raising chickens and selling the eggs, the children are able to learn hands-on how to care for chickens but are also able to sell the eggs for profit in the market to help sustain the education program for the future.
The Colombia education project provides pre-school education for 150 children that would not otherwise be in school. Furthermore, it allows their mothers to search for jobs or to work during the time that their children are in school. As said by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), “education is humanity’s best hope and most effective means in the quest to achieve sustainable development.”
After a disaster there is a need to respond immediately with relief. But, the intervention from the outside can greatly harm the community if it carries on for too long and does not move into holistic community development. CWR is transitioning into this development phase in Haiti. Instead of only sending outside medical help, our medical work now focuses also on training local medical professionals and creating sustainable clinics and hospitals for the community.
Several of our projects in India focus directly on empowering women. They have formed self-help groups to provide education, job training, micro-loans, savings accounts and emotional support for women. These projects can be found here, here, here, here, and here.
The Kenya project is providing an education for some of the most vulnerable children in the community–Congolese refugees. These children are receiving a quality education and a new hope for their future.
Shame surrounds and can consume women with fistulas and completely isolate them from the community. Our project provides surgery and then training, loans and micro-enterprise support, so that women are empowered and find meaningful ways to re-enter society.
Teenagers in Vietnam are given apprenticeships in a field of their choice in order to break the cycle of poverty. Young women are learning important skills in sewing and beauty shops.