MADRE grows food, boosts communities, and supports rape survivors
“Because of the war I never went to school for even one day. My biggest hope now is that my daughter will finish school. I have the chickens from MADRE now, and that means better food for my daughter. We get a little money from the eggs each week. I put it in my secret place, and I use it to buy pencils and books for her. I know her life will be better.” – Rosa, member of Muixil, Guatemala
MADRE’s focus for 2012 has been on agricultural initiatives, advocating for food sovereignty in impoverished communities to reduce the extreme impact that poverty has on women and girls, who bear most of the responsibility for feeding their families. Long-term sustainability and education are the main goal of MADRE’s food programs, providing women in Sudan, Nicaragua, and Guatemala with the knowledge and infrastructure needed to create food stability in their families and pass on their expertise. By providing women in sister organizations with seed, implements, livestock, and training, they empower these individuals to improve nutrition and build their local economies. The cycle of poverty is diminished by allowing women to fund education for their children.
These projects can have benefits for those far beyond the local communities. In Sudan, 415 members of the Women Farmers Union, founded by MADRE and its sister organization Zenab, have been provided with tools and seeds, as well as a tractor. Fatima Ahmen, director of Zenab, says that “women will now be able to plant faster and raise bigger harvests. Our hope is that together we can build prosperous and peaceful communities, and we work for this every day.” When the worst drought in 60 years swept across the Horn of Africa, the Women Farmers Union shared the results of their hard work by sending the income from their harvest to MADRE’s famine relief program in Kenya.
Elsewhere in the world, MADRE programs address a broad range of issues, including birth rights, clean water, and the right to protest. In Haiti, MADRE’s partnership with KOFAVIV (Commission for Women Victims for Victims) has provided rape counseling, safe shelter, legal and medical information, and skills training for victims of sexual violence. Malya Villard-Appolon, a courageous advocate for justice for rape survivors and a co-founder of KOFAVIV, was named one of CNN’s Top 10 Heroes of 2012 for her work providing services and empowerment to victims of sexual violence. You can find out more about Malya’s story and her organization, and vote for her to be CNN’s Hero of the year. Malya’s strength arose from her own survival: “I was a victim, and I did not find justice. But I know I will get it for other women.”
The scope and number of MADRE’s projects is inspiring. Take a look at their annual report for a glimpse of their incredible range of projects and partner organizations, and to read about the many lives they have changed.