Meet WfWI - South Sudan graduate Kana!
Kana is married with 6 children. For Kana, one of the best parts of her year-long WfWI program was the business training.
In addition to specific vocational skills, like breadmaking or farming, the WfWI curriculum includes business training. This means that women in our program don’t just learn a trade but they learn how to turn their trade into an income-generating business, such as a bakery. They learn to buy, sell, serve customers, and manage their finances.
Kana tells us that, through the WfWI business training, she has learned the importance of bookkeeping. Now she counts and keeps track of her products.
Says Kana of her new business and the independence it gives her, "Before I used to rely on my husband for everything, even to buy soap. If my h usband didn't buy soap, I couldn't bathe. Now I buy soap and even have money to send my children to school.
Meet WfWI - South Sudan graduate Helen. She is married with 7 children. As a WfWI participant, Helen not only recieved training in a specific trade like baking or farming, but also learned valuable business skills to help her ensure her small business is sustainable.
Helen tells us she was elected the leader of her business group (“cooperative”). This is a major accomplishment. Women in South Sudan do not often have the opportunity to assume leadership roles in any context.
For the women we serve, forming groups - or cooperatives - can be a great way to start earning and sustaining an income. The members pool their resources, share the work, and produce goods on a larger scale for greater profit.
As the leader of her group, Helen oversees their planning and finances, fosters collaboration, and represents the group locally.
Says Helen when asked about her success, "We need other sisters to get the skills to improve like we have. Thank you to those people who have helped us, bringing us from zero to this state."
Meet WfWI graduate Rose. She is married with 7 children. While participating in WfWI's programs Rose learned baking skills, and now sells baked good at the market to earn a living for herself and her family. She is also a trainer at WfWI, teaching other women these skills so they to can use the skills to earn an income.
Rose’s accomplishments and continuing hard work are even more impressive when taken in context.
The economy in South Sudan – a country just over one year old – is in economic crisis. Inflation has skyrocketed as the South Sudanese pound has depreciated.
The women we serve are among the poorest and most socially excluded. The rising price of goods means that our program participants and graduates cannot afford to make the purchases they need to operate their small income generation activities. For the women we serve, earning an income right now is very difficult.
In addition to the economic troubles, South Sudan is facing a major humanitarian crisis. Refugees are fleeing from fighting in the north and inter-communal violence is a persistent threat.
Check out the video interview with Rose below!
The training WfWI provides to participants in South Sudan does so much more than allow them to just open a bakery. Read on for a note from a WfWI staff member about the importance of investing in women and how much of an impact it can have on families and communities.
Women in Sudan are faced with extreme challenges. Female illiteracy rate hovers at 90%, only 36% of girls in Sudan are enrolled in primary school. Early marriage is widespread and the maternal death rate is among the highest in the world.
For the women that we serve, expectations are minimal – women desire access to clean water, land, and education for their children. Women want security, protection and the ability to cultivate crops. What the elections offer is an opportunity to create a supportive environment to enable the entrepreneurial development of the people. The women and the people of Sudan are hungry for change. Change for them means food, education, protection and security.
We place so much hope in governments and invest so many resources into them--as we should--but we often forget to do the same with the people, especially with women. To build strong nations, we need to invest in women. Good governance benefits significantly from an engaged and active citizenship. As citizens, women cannot be engaged and active if they are hungry, powerless and vulnerable. So what Sudan needs, both now and after the upcoming elections, is investment. We need to invest in developing Sudan’s women by supporting their skill-building, which will in turn encourage the nation’s economic development.
Women, in the context of Sudan, have suffered severely and continue to suffer today. We need to support them and their ongoing efforts to ensure the progress of Sudan as a whole. Yes, one of the soundest strategy is the development of Sudan’s most marginalized citizens, women and children. The Sudanese people crave deliverables that will translate into real progress and development.
Supporting women will contribute to the foundation of a strong and dynamic civil society, from economic development and to the creation of education and infrastructure. We can build and strengthen the country’s women and its vulnerable population as whole.
Investments from the international community intended to encourage the development of Sudan through the empowerment of women protect the interests of the majority of the population. It is not a matter of personal gain. Women are already actively involved in rebuilding the country through the family and the community, but they lack the necessary resources and skills. With proper investment, the women of Sudan can be a driving force in rebuilding the devastated and war-torn. We need to invest in Sudan’s women.
Meet WfWI - South Sudan graduate Rose. She is married with 7 children. During the civil war in Sudan she lost 2 of her children. Her home was also destroyed. Looking for ways to rebuild her life, Rose found WfWI. She enrolled in WfWI's year-long comprehensive training program and received training in rights awareness, health education, business skills. She also learned how to bake rolls, donuts and other bread items to sell at market. Through her business, she now earns enough money to put some aside each month in a bank account. But Rose hasn't stopped there. After her graduation she returned to WfWI to train other women to become bakers. She goes to local radio stations to talk about the importance of educating children, particularly girls. Rose is a truly wonderful example of what can happen with a bit of hard work and perseverance.
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