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 ...
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!

Jun 11, 2013

Voices of Syrian Mothers in Za'atari Camp

In April 2013, MADRE Executive Director Yifat Susskind traveled to the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. There, she met with Syrian mothers who are struggling to make ends meet in the crowded camp. Below are some of her reflections from her first day in the camp:

As I enter Za’atari refugee camp, just over 30 miles south of the Syrian border, it’s like a sprawling city in the desert, all behind barbed wire. Over 100,000 people live here now, after fleeing the violence of Syria’s civil war.

The camp is clearly still under construction, with many new tents and metal caravans waiting for more refugees. It’s a sign that no one believes the war will end soon. In fact, UNICEF estimates that the refugee population in Jordan alone will reach more than 1.2 million by the end of the year. Amina, one of our local partners, is shocked by how much the camp has expanded since her last visit.

Down the main market strip of the camp, people are selling everything: vegetables, chickens, cotton candy, cigarettes, pasta, cooking utensils, cheap plastic toys. The lane is choked with people of all ages, shopping and selling. Little boys, laughing and covered in dust, give each other rides in wheelbarrows. People are picking through a tremendous pile of old, worn shoes for sale. Everything is covered in dust, even the olive trees at the edge of the camp.

The metal caravans, freezing cold in winter and sweltering all summer, are 10 by 16 feet. That’s barely enough room for a family to sleep, and many of the refugee families are large.

The trauma of the war follows women even in the relative safety of Jordan. You can see it most clearly in their eyes: the hollow stares, the sudden tears, the inability to maintain eye contact in conversations. Among the refugees, even those who appear physically unharmed are wounded.

We talked to Meena who came across the border from her home in Homs after Assad’s forces burned down her house and killed her 27-year-old sister. Meena is 39 years old, the mother of 12 children and a grandmother of four. One of her older daughters was married here in the camp. “It is better,” she said, “for protection.” For Meena, married at 15, her daughter’s wedding was a blessing. But other women say that girls in the camp suffer the most.

We spoke with Sabeen, whose 13-year-old daughter was married shortly after arriving in the camp. “We had no money when we arrived in Jordan,” Sabeen told us. “Marriage was the only option to give my daughter protection and security.” Her daughter is now pregnant. Sabeen worries that her young body cannot properly handle the stress of pregnancy. And reproductive health services are scarce in the camp.

Hanan has two children, a boy and a girl. She divorced her husband long ago and came here from Daraa with her children when she heard the army was coming and that they had raped girls in the village nearby. “We left everything and came here, but my only dream is to go home.” She said she will not marry for protection in the camp. She looked away when I asked her why. “There is more than one kind of danger,” she said.

I know that stories of such hardship can be difficult to hear. We’re doing everything we can to bring vital humanitarian aid. Thank you for being part of this effort.

 

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