Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Women for Women

Do you think your life is chaotic? Do you feel like sometimes it's hard to get anywhere and accomplish anything because of all the challenges you face?

Here's a recipe for cultural enlightenment: Take a cross-section of your life, add one part war complete with flying bombs, destroy part of your town, go without food for four days, alot yourself a few cups of water per day and then imagine accomplishing the things you're expected to do on a daily basis. Can you do it?

A year ago we had a devastating tornado that went through our town and wiped out a big swath of "civilization" diagonally across the place I have known and loved my whole life. I was out of sorts of days, weeks. I was distracted and sad. I was surrounded by people who were distracted and sad, some were distressed and now homeless. And this was just from a tornado, not from a war. Imagine feeling that way and wondering if someone was going to come and drag you out of your house and do something horrible to you.

These are the challenges faced by women in conflict and post-conflict regions of the world. Fortunately, Women for Women International has a program that enables women in these areas to change their lives through a "holistic approach", turning women from victims into leaders and active citizens in their villages and communities.

The key component to Women for Women's program is their Sponsorship Program wherein women are sponsored by other women. This provides the women in the program to be provided with basic survival needs (food, water, etc) while they are getting back on their feet. Once they are in a stabilized environment they can then move on to the next phase of the program which is learning life skills -- technical and vocational skills, leadership education and rights awareness. The organization also offers more advanced business services for the time when the women are ready to become more independent. They offer micro-lending and many other business fostering services.

Their "plan" looks really amazing and the sponsorship program seems like it would be gratifying to participate in. You get to write letters to the women you are sponsoring and keep updated on their progress adding an additional emotional component to the healing of these women as they try to get back on their feet and make their lives better. The additional focus of the holistic approach means women extend their new leadership skills into their community which just ripples out to change their villages and subsequently their world.

This organization has high marks from Charity Navigator. Go check out their sponsorship program and if you feel like you can't afford to sponsor someone, do you think you can find someone who can?

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