Today is International Women’s Day and I thought it would be fitting considering all of my ramblings about being a woman if I did something to notice this particular day.
Women the world over still live in poverty, are victims of violence, are often refused education and bear a greater load of the care-giving burden when it comes to taking care of families. How can we, as women who are in a much better position than most of our sisters, help?
So I have a few ideas that work for me. Today I am finally contacting my local WIC chapter to see if I can volunteer to teach nutrition and budgeting classes. Kim mentioned this to me ages ago and today is the day I am going to do it. After all, one of the biggest obstacles for women is lack of education. Knowledge is power, so I will share what I know.
Since the birth of the boy we have sponsored a little boy in Rwanda who lives with his grandmother after the death of both parents. I always planned to sponsor a little girl after the Girl was born but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I think sponsorship is a great way to help because it costs barely anything and significantly improves the lives of children within their own family and community. There are a ton of agencies that arrange to sponsor children and improve communities through education and development. You can choose one that you like best. This week I am calling to sponsor another child and I will be specifying a girl. I want it to be in a country where girls are most at risk of being sold into the sex trade. I know it’s only one girl, and that won’t solve things for a different girl, but I can at least help one, and you can too, and if enough of us help one other girl somewhere to grow to adulthood free of HIV and other diseases and equipped with an education and skills we can make a huge difference. Girls grow up to become mothers, they are the ones who will teach the next generation what they know and we can add to that by helping one today.
Third, we can support single mothers the world over who are supporting themselves through cottage industries. These necklaces are beautiful; I have a few. The women who make these live in a township in South Africa and this is how they support their families. I personally know the people distributing their wares in the US and I can vouch for the fact that every penny goes back to these women. I have an amazing bag that was hand woven by some Karen refugees in northern Thailand. (The government of Burma/Myanmar is systematically eradicating the Karen and many are fleeing in Thailand.) These women use a couple of sticks and some thread and weave these amazing colorful purses. It takes about three days to finish one; they are selling for $20-$30 depending on size. Mine is the most comfortable bag I’ve ever worn and doubles as a purse and diaper bag. I just phoned the woman who I got mine from and she hasn’t finished her website yet, but if you are interested let me know and I’ll see what I can do to get you one. Again, all of the money goes back to these women and their families. Before my friend found them they were selling them to tourists for $5 a bag. Now they are making a decent wage off of their three days of labour, by village standards.
Fourth, I'm doing what I can to teach my son to respect woman and to protect those who are weaker than him. And I'm doing my best to be a strong role model for my daughters, to be for them the kind of woman I hope they become and to make their path a little smoother.
So those are my thoughts for the day. Does anyone else have some good ideas? Please share.