When I consider the most effective ways to end poverty, I think of empowering women.
It’s like the mobiles that my wife lovingly hung above our children’s cribs when they were babies. Different elements of the mobile dangled at different levels. Together they kept the colorful toy in balance. Similarly, empowering women is what keeps communities in balance.
In my worldwide travels, I’ve witnessed the tragic impact of a lack of balance and the happy consequence of restoring balance.
Prior to Food for the Hungry (FH) entering one community in Ixil region of Guatemala, 80 percent of the children were malnourished, with devastating impact on everyone.
Food for the Hungry worked with the community
to raise the status of and empower women.
We helped women learn about nutrition and how to grow healthy food. We helped them learn skills, start new businesses and join a savings group. The women worked together to make the community a healthier place to raise children.
During one trip to this community, I walked into a leader mother’s small home where women were measuring the progress of their children. They set their children on a balance scale to ensure that the kids remained within a healthy weight range. Children laid on a board so their mothers could use a tape measure to track their height.
On that same day, the community hosted an inauguration and christening of their new school. One leader mother, Maria, exclaimed with so much pride that it swelled my own heart. She said that the community couldn’t even have a school five years earlier because the children’s brain development was too stunted. Now that the mothers had learned to play the lead in making the entire community healthy, their children were able to learn in ways they never were in the past.
Women Are THE Key to Balance
What I’ve come to understand from my world travels is that people live in networks of interconnected relationships similar to the mobiles my wife used to hang over our children’s cribs. When the network is out of balance, generations of children suffer. When we empower women to get things back into balance, everyone and the entire system benefits from the changed dynamics.
When this happens, women who were once too shy to speak in a group now stand taller, laugh and are more outgoing. I’ve witnessed these women as they realize a sense of hope because of their new-found skills and abilities. They display love and passion for their children and neighbors. They know that they now have the skills to be difference makers.
It Has a Ripple Effect
As a result of women feeling empowered, hopeful and passionate, children begin to thrive. Fewer mothers die in childbirth. More children live past the age of five. Children have dreams and aspire to something other than survival. Husbands treat their wives with greater dignity. There is less domestic violence. The value of education rises for both males and females.
It’s widely known that if a girl can be educated beyond the second grade, it delays marriage. We strive to get them through the six grade or beyond. This gives the girls time to develop physically, spiritually and emotionally. They gain skills that increase the health of their families and increase overall income in the community.
An investment in girls and women has a significant effect that raises the bar for an entire community. Will you join Food for the Hungry by helping us in our work to help women become difference makers in their communities?
You can help empower girls and women to be difference makers in a variety of ways, including sponsoring a child. making a one-time donation or choosing a specific item from our gift catalog.
To learn more about the best ways to help women in poverty, download Food for the Hungry’s free ebook, 7 Surprising Facts About Women and Poverty.
Food for the Hungry has prepared http://app.fh.org/women?source=WZZZB1ZZZ&utm_source=garywomenpost&utm_campaign=blog&utm_medium=blog” target=”_blank”>this free ebook to introduce you to what it’s like for a mother to help her children survive on $1.25 per day. You’ll meet a real mother whose daily life was a worrisome struggle … until she met a group of women who helped her buy a cow.
In this free ebook, you’ll:
- Discover startling facts about what chains women and their children in a life of poverty
- Learn about amazingly simple ways to help women break the bonds of extreme poverty
- Find ways you can make a life-altering difference for a mother and her children!