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Girls in the program are familiar with adversity, as they grew up in traditional Tanzanian settings where women are not always given the same opportunities as men. Girls in the program are familiar with adversity, as they grew up in traditional Tanzanian settings where women are not always given the same opportunities as men.

A Place in Society

On a sunny day in Tanzania, a sense of hope is evident as we meet with Pendo and Zainabu, two teenagers from our Empowered Girls program. They beam as they talk about their new self-confidence and their dreams and aspirations for the future.

Empowered Girls is a program in our Women’s Empowerment Initiative that brings educational programs to schools and communities in East Africa. Sessions include contextually appropriate topics such as self-esteem, gender-based violence, and harmful cultural beliefs and practices. Professionals from the community visit the schools to provide lessons in health, women’s rights, leadership and family planning.

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Pendo, Zainabu and many of the other girls in the program are familiar with adversity, as they grew up in traditional Tanzanian settings where women are not always given the same opportunities as men.

Zainabu, 14, lost her father at the age of five and struggled for many years with grief. She said getting involved in the Empowered Girls program has made a great impact.

“I would hear other people talk about their families and it made me miss mine” says Zainabu as her eyes start to water. “I felt so sad, but when I come here, they encourage me.”

There is a strong emphasis on the future as well. Pendo, 16, hopes to encourage and empower other girls in their community.

“I am a girl,” says Pendo proudly. “And I have a place in society.”

Pendo loves to sing and is a self-proclaimed bookworm.

Zainabu also has big dreams. She plans on becoming a lawyer someday so she can help educate others on women’s rights. When asked about advice she would give other young women, her answer was simple.

“They can do anything,” Zainabu says. “They have to be proud to be girls.”

This year, we have watched more than 1,200 girls develop this sense of pride through the Empowered Girls program.

“They have a lot of potential,” says Daudi Msseemmaa, Africa field operations director. “And potential is a beautiful thing.”

 

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Program Updates / Women's Empowerment
Judy was able to get a new wheelchair for her son through our Mothers' Clubs program in El Salvador. Judy was able to get a new wheelchair for her son through our Mothers' Clubs program in El Salvador.

More than just a meal in El Salvador

In front of a modest church in El Salvador, women in their Sunday best file out of crowded trucks. Chattering with excitement, they walk into the church with arms full of hand-crafted jewelry and bright colored flowers. Though the scene could easily be mistaken for a Sunday morning gathering, it’s really a press conference to celebrate a new partnership between the U.S. State Department and Convoy of Hope’s Mothers’ Clubs.

At the mic, Madam Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte beams with excitement as she tells of a $60,000 grant and the newly-minted partnership between the U.S. State Department and Convoy of Hope. The grant, she says, will give women throughout El Salvador access to seed capital to start their own businesses and enable them to develop co-ops and savings groups.

After speaking to the women and media, Aponte walks by tables spread with colorful jewelry and decorative flowers made by the women, she compliments and encourages them.

“This is so special to my son and I,” says Judy, 29, moments after Aponte visits her and her disabled son, Nelson. “I felt her warmth and kindness towards us.”

Judy says her life began to change for the better in February 2013 after enrolling in the Mothers’ Clubs program.

“Even though I was attending the classes, it wasn’t easy,” admits Judy. “I had to take Nelson to class and work with him on my lap because he could not support himself. I could never leave him alone to rest.”

The women leading Judy’s Mothers’ Club immediately recognized her unique challenges and helped arrange for Convoy of Hope to get a wheelchair donated for Nelson. As soon as Nelson got his new chair, Judy’s skill level and optimism for a better life were fast tracked.

“The Mothers’ Club changed my life in more ways than one,” she says. “The wheelchair has made our lives so much easier. I can rest and work and he can have some independence.”

Judy says she makes enough money now selling her jewelry to buy food to supplement the food she receives through Convoy of Hope’s Children’s Feeding Initiative at her daughter’s school.

Learn more aboutWomen’s Empowerment

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