March is Women's History Month and March 8 is International Women's Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women, and a day to serve as a call to action for acceleration toward gender parity.
Foundation Beyond Belief believes everyone has a right to live a full and equal life of dignity regardless of gender. From the beginning, we have supported organizations that worked toward the safety and equality of women, whether it is through education, improving living conditions, or basic human rights. Our belief in equality for all genders is reflected in everything we do: our choice of beneficiaries, how we volunteer throughout the United States and the world, and using research to make sure that the most vulnerable and underserved victims receive help following a disaster.
For example, Starfish (our current Education beneficiary and our Q2 2015 Compassionate Impact Grant beneficiary) has proven through their Girl Pioneer program that a combination of individualized educational attention and cultural support is a potent recipe for achievement. Their students have outpaced their peers in many ways, from simple frequency of attendance, to avoiding teenage pregnancy, and finding jobs after graduation.
On Saturday, April 25, 2015 a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. FBB ran a Disaster Recovery Drive and our first beneficiary for the drive was The Women's Foundation Nepal.
This organization was chosen as a beneficiary for two primary reasons. First, locally run organizations are always best suited to handle recovery, especially in the long term. Second, the impacts of disasters on women have been widely researched in countries around the world. This research has found that women face more and unique challenges throughout response and recovery, including needs related to health, safety, and economic stability. After disasters, access to women's health resources are especially difficult to find, gender-based violence increases, and women are often unable to access recovery-related employment opportunities and aid.
Something as natural as menstruation can have a devastating effect on women in many parts of the world. We chose our Q2 2014 Poverty and Health beneficiary, 50 Cents. Period. because they are working to change that. Their unique and powerful mission is to provide women's health education and supplies to women in countries where there is a strong stigma against and ritual exclusion of menstruating women. These programs have a holistic effect on the lives of the women they serve, including education about their own health and human rights. Their programs in India are so popular and in need that they have a waiting list for inclusion in the program.
We are also continuing our partnership with Songtaba, a Ghanaian organization(and our Q4 2015 Health beneficiary) with a strong intersectional program addressing the poverty and health of women within a culture permeated by human rights issues.
Right now, our Humanist Service Corps volunteers are in Kukuo working withwomen who have been accused of witchcraft and banished to 'witch-camps' in the Northern Region of Ghana. Although the women are relatively safe from violence once they are in exile, the living conditions are deplorable. They do not have access to basic education and healthcare and they are unaware of or are unable to exercise legal protections under Ghanaian and international laws.
You can read more about our medical records program and donate to support it here.
Executive Director Noelle George is proud of FBB's history of working on social justice issues, "Foundation Beyond Belief is working hard toward equality for all genders, and we are excited to continue that work going forward through the Humanist Service Corps and our other programs."