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...
Apr 4, 2012

Reflecting a Brighter Future for Colombian Youth

We just received a shipment of beautiful mosaic mirrors skillfully crafted by participants of Taller de Vida’s arts therapy program.

Taller de Vida provides services for impoverished Colombian children at risk of being recruited as child soldiers. Taller de Vida’s programs offer children the social and psychological support they need to create alternatives to a life of combat and violence.

Through art therapy, academic tutoring and counseling, Colombian youth are given the opportunity to channel the trauma of displacement and war into healthy self-expression.  For many children, Taller de Vida is a safe space—a haven of creativity, friendship and support.

The mirrors, pictured below, are a testament to the therapeutic power of art in the face of adversity.

Julian*expressed his gratitude for these essential services when he told MADRE: “Going to Taller de Vida means getting a chance to LIVE, to know ourselves, to realize that it doesn’t stop with us not going to war but that we must do something for our country.”

*Not his real name.

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.”

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