MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Org.

MADRE's mission is to advance women's human rights by meeting urgent needs in communities and building lasting solutions to the crises women face. MADRE works towards a world in which all people enjoy the fullest range of individual and collective human rights; in which resources are shared equitably and sustainably; in which women participate effectively in all aspects of society; and in which people have a meaningful say in policies that affect their lives. MADRE's vision is enacted with an understanding of the inter-relationships between the various issues we address and by a commitment to working in partnership with women at the local, regional and international levels who share our go...
Jul 10, 2013

Hope and Happy Anniversaries in the West Bank

“As an Israeli midwife, I always wanted to talk to Palestinian midwives, to see their experience and exchange stories — that’s how we learn. We are neighbors, and with neighbors, you should talk. It’s unnatural that we don’t talk. So I came to the first meeting of this group. That was five years ago. Now we are more than neighbors. We are friends.”

Gomer, the Israeli coordinator of our sister organization Midwives for Peace, told me this on my recent visit to the West Bank. I was there to celebrate the group’s five year anniversary, a truly remarkable milestone.

Israel and Palestine are at a political standstill. The level of despondency in the region is as strong as I’ve ever seen it. And the lack of confidence in progress is widespread. As you can imagine, under these difficult circumstances, collaboration can seem impossible. Yet the commitment of our sister organization of Israeli and Palestinian midwives remains strong. Through it all, they continue to work together to learn from each other and to safely deliver babies in the West Bank, despite the conflict that surrounds them. What an inspiration!

The anniversary meeting gave the midwives a chance to celebrate, reflect and share their plans for the future. In 2014, the group hopes to send representatives to the International Conference of Midwives in Prague.

And this August, they are planning a group trip to the beach. You might be wondering what a day at the beach has to do with breaking down barriers between Palestinians and Israelis, but consider this: some of the Palestinian midwives are refugees whose families came from coastal villages, yet they themselves have never seen the ocean. As Aisha, the group’s Palestinian coordinator, said to me, “the friendships we are building as midwives, as women, are opening doors in our lives and in our hearts that the conflict had tried to nail shut.”

I’m always so moved to see the collaboration and friendship between our Israeli and Palestinian sisters. Our partnership with Midwives for Peace is something I am proud of every day. I was so grateful to be able to attend their anniversary event, and I look forward to celebrating their next five years.

Jun 19, 2013

Success Stories from Zenab!

Fatima Ahmed, director of MADRE’s sister organization Zenab for Women in Development, recently shared some success stories from the Women Farmers Union. Together with Zenab, MADRE supports over 3,000 women farmers, giving them the tools, resources and technical assistance they need to sustain their families for the long haul. Keep reading to learn how this program is helping transform women’s lives:

  • Howafram owns a small farm where she produces food for her family. When her crops were infested by weeds, Zenab was there with the tools to deal with the problem and save her crops. MADRE and Zenab’s support helped Howafram successfully prepare for the rest of the season’s harvest.
  • Since Zeina’s participation in the Women Farmers Union, she’s been able to grow the food her family needs to survive. Income generated from surplus crops allowed Zeina to send her daughter to school. Her daughter is now attending a nearby university. She is the first person in Zeina’s family to go to college.
  • Halimah, a Women Farmers Union participant from the Wadaif community, recently invested the money she earned from her harvest to open a pre-school. Now, her pre-school serves up to sixty children in her community.

Your support truly strengthens our sisters in Sudan, their families, and their communities. Thank you!

Jun 14, 2013

Take my body out of the war

We recently received an email from Stella Duque, director of our sister organization Taller de Vida. She shared some exciting updates from her programs with former child soldiers and children at high risk of being recruited in Colombia’s armed conflict.

Taller de Vida is preparing to launch an important campaign to confront the recruitment of child soldiers in Colombia. For many children from poor families, joining an armed group is the only way to get a meal each day. Once a child is recruited, armed groups become the only family they know. They grow up knowing nothing but a life of combat, perpetuating a war that has already lasted more than 40 years.

Stella and Taller de Vida are working to break this harmful cycle. Their programs offer trauma counseling, art therapy and recreational programs that allow children to heal from their experiences of war.

The campaign "Take my body out of the war" (Saquen mi cuerpo de la guerra) will feature an exposition of photos and texts created by the former child soldiers who participate in Taller de Vida’s art therapy workshops. The exposition will give these children a platform to raise awareness, raise their voices and share their experiences of life in armed conflict.

This campaign, like so much of Taller de Vida's work, will serve as a therapeutic outlet for these children. Thank you for supporting this crucial work!

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