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An inspiration to empower women

In 1969 my parents’ automobile was hit by a drunken driver. My father was killed and my mother was seriously injured. Suddenly, my mother became a single parent and began looking for a job to support the family.

She did not have a college education or formal training. She wanted to care for her children but she found it difficult to find employment that provided adequate compensation. Although I was just a boy, I remember her leaving the house day after day to search for a job. She was determined that her family would not stay on welfare forever.

Finally, she was offered a temporary position which eventually led to full-time employment.  That was one of the greatest moments of her life.

In countries like Ethiopia, Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment Initiative, which teaches women skills to earn and save money through job training, is giving women an opportunity to earn an income that enables them to feed their children. In essence, they are accomplishing what my mother did many years ago.

Many of these women have been abandoned and abused their entire lives. But finally, through Women’s Empowerment, they are being given a chance at a better life.

I’ve had the opportunity to visit some of the businesses these women have started. I wish you could see their smiles and hear their words of gratitude.

Because the women are being taught how to save a portion of their earnings, no longer will they be living in the streets or struggling to make ends meet.  They have new skills and a greater understanding of business principles. As a result, their future is bright.

Thank you for caring and giving so Convoy of Hope can continue to meet the needs of women in places like Ethiopia, Tanzania, El Salvador and more.

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From The Founders / Women's Empowerment
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