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...
Mar 23, 2012

Crafting a Way Out of Poverty and Violence

“Marie”* was just 19 years old when her father died in Haiti’s devastating earthquake. Left to fend for herself without stable source of income, she struggled to make ends meet. Basic resources like food, water and shelter were often out of reach .

Marie soon found herself engaging in “survival sex,” or, the act of exchanging sex for food, money and other crucial resources to sustain herself. These men she met frequently use violence to force themselves on her, and they often refuse to wear condoms or pay her.

She is afraid of getting pregnant or contracting a disease, but she does not have the money to go to medical clinics. Sometimes she dreams of the happy days before the earthquake, when she hung out with her friends and attended school regularly.  Now, she sees little option other than survival sex. 

Marie is not the only young woman facing this crisis. So KOFAVIV began designing workshops to provide an alternative for women and girls. The workshops not only provides a safe space for women and girls to stay during the day, but also offers food and skills training. They include instruction in activities such as how to craft jewelry and clothes, how to make hair pomade, and how to paint nails.

Women are taught skills that can provide them with income and clear alternatives to survival sex. The workshops train girls to become leaders and teach them how to reach out to other women in similar circumstances. This program has proved to be extremely effective, and nearly 70 girls have taken part to date.

Much of this vital work continues because of the tireless dedication of the KOFAVIV’s outreach workers—and because of you. You can make sure that KOFAVIV’s essential outreach work continues to change lives. 

*Not her real name.

Mar 20, 2012

A Center of Learning and Empowerment

In rural Kenya, Indigenous communities often do not have the resources to send their daughters to school. Instead, many girls are compelled into early marriages (sometimes as young as nine years old) and forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM).

The Nanyori Shelter Network is one of the few chances girls have to pursue secondary education in rural Kenya. With MADRE support, the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) provides girls with safety, shelter and education. Girls receive crucial support and schooling from a network of women committed to their empowerment.

Lucy Mulenkei, founder of the IIN,  knows that education is critical to breaking the oppressive cycle of poverty amongst rural women and girls in Kenya. Currently, she is working on a project that will provide scholarships for girls with the desire—but not the resources—to attend school. She believes that graduating girls will return to their communities with the resources, knowledge and conviction to inspire others to follow similar paths.

“In the future, they can come and help others because some of us also grew up in such situations where we were educated by somebody. We grew up knowing that we were helped, so we have to help others. I do believe that the little you do can make a difference, no matter how small it is. It can always make a difference and change the people’s lives.”

Mar 15, 2012

Amplifying the Voices of Ixil Women

Before the war, Dona Catarina Matom lived peacefully with her two daughters and husband in Nebaj,
Guatemala.

But escalating violence and war soon spread to her village. Soldiers brutally plundered homes and then
set them ablaze. Escaping violence, Dona and her family fled to the mountains—where they faced
disease, sickness, cold and extreme hunger.

After weeks of hiding, they relocated to Caba Chajul, Guatemala. “We were chased by soldiers, we
always tried to hide. There were constant bombings. My daughter Rosa was good and healthy but one day
I can not remember which, a bomb fell near my daughter Rosa and now she is currently deaf,” said Dona.

In Caba Chajul, Dona’s husband was captured by soldiers. She struggled to raise her daughters on her
own, constantly worrying about how to provide them with food. Often, they were forced to subsist off a
meager diet of wilted herbs and plants.

But Dona no longer has to worry about how she will feed her children. Now, she has the essential skills
and resources to provide for her family, thanks to your support through GlobalGiving’s Sustainable
Chicken Farm for Guatemalan Women project.

MADRE works with Muixil, a community based organization of Indigenous Ixil women in
Guatemala. Together, MADRE and Muixil created Farming for the Future, a collective income-
generating project that provides the Ixil women living in poverty with economic independence
and food security and empowers them to demand their political rights.

When the sustainable chicken farming project began in 2007, Muixil and MADRE were
able to provide 30 women with chickens, but over the years the project has increased
substantially. Over the past year, at least 48 women (16 from each of the three communities)
have participated in and benefited from the chicken project. Additionally, the sustainable chicken
farms have provided food security, better nutrition, and a means of generating small amounts of
income for the families involved.

“Before, I was very poor and scared, I never spoke…But Muixil accepted me and I participate in
trainings, meetings and now participate in the community and I have no fear. I know I have the same
rights as men. I received the support from MUIXIL and I thank all the women who help us in other
countries far away,” said Dona.

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