Happy International Women’s Day! CLWR believes that women and men are created in God’s image as equals, with the same inherent rights and dignity, and we are fully committed to challenging systems and practices that limit the choices of individuals on the basis of gender. It is our vision to achieve a world where people live in justice, peace and dignity, united in diversity, and empowered to achieve their universal rights to basic needs and quality of life. Policy, programming and practices that seek to restore equality, including gender equality, dignity and humanity are fundamental priorities. We wish to bring about sustainable, transformative change in gender relations.
This year’s theme is “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity.” Please find below three of many examples of how you’re making a difference in the lives of women around the world, through your partnership with CLWR.
Take Yasmin’s story. After her father passed away, she knew she had to help support her family. But she needed affordable, accessible job training to do so. She enrolled in secretary training through the Vocational Training Program, run by our partner the Lutheran World Federation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. An apprenticeship funded by CLWR and the Manitoba government helped her gain on-the-job skills and eventually a permanent job. One of the goals of the Vocational Training Program is to offer culturally acceptable and market-relevant training for women, who are underrepresented in the workforce.
Or take the story of Medina and her daughter Halima. Medina, and generations of women before her, never got to go to school. They lived as nomads in the arid Afar region of Ethiopia, traveling with their belongings on their backs, often with babies and children in tow, as they moved to find grazing land for their livestock. The men walked with the animals. When you’re always on the move, it’s hard to enroll children in school. This harsh and challenging life was made all the more difficult when food was scarce. That’s changed now that Medina and her family have settled in a community with an irrigation system supported in part by Canadian Lutherans. They have water to grow crops, so there’s enough food to eat. There’s no need to be on the move, and Medina’s life has become that much easier. What’s more, young Halima will be the first girl in her family to get an education.
South Sudanese women who have become refugees of the civil war in their country are receiving livelihood training by our partner the Lutheran World Federation in the Adjumani settlements in Uganda. Learning skills in crafts, textiles and cooking not only empower women to earn a better living, but also provide time to share personal stories with one another and help overcome the psychological scars of harrowing escapes and lost loved ones. What’s more, the Village Savings and Loans Associations being established will allow men and women to save a portion of their income, and obtain small loans to increase their earning capacity by acquiring a sewing machine, a new oven, more livestock or stock for a small store.