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...
Sep 7, 2012

KOFAVIV's fight for justice

KOFAVIV works tirelessly to bring shelter and support for victims of sexual violence, and this includes supporting the victims as they go through the legal processes, from filing a complaint to the police, finding a lawyer and helping them build a case, to accompanying the victims to trials.

This past July, four cases of sexual violence for which KOFAVIV had provided assistance to the victims were tried at the courts. KOFAVIV and its local legal aid partner, the BAI (The Bureau of International Lawyers), celebrated a victory as all four aggressors in these cases were convicted and will be jailed for the crimes that they committed against the victims, all of whom are minors. KOFAVIV outreach agents and staff were present at the trials, to provide emotional support to the victims and their families but also to raise awareness about addressing and preventing sexual violence.

Although four cases is an extremely small number compared to the hundreds, if not thousands of cases of sexual violence that go unreported, it is a step in the right direction. Although the legal recourses are slow and often inaccessible to victims of sexual violence, KOFAVIV is not letting this hinder their work. Through public education campaigns, outreach events, and access to support services provided by organizations such as KOFAVIV, victims are breaking the silence and seeking justice. 

Sep 5, 2012

Update from Womankind Kenya

In the photo below, women and girls line up to receive food aid. In northern Kenya, Womankind Kenya is still working to support families displaced by the famine.

MADRE is working with Womankind Kenya to create a mobile health clinic to bring essential medical care to women and their families. The van will be loaded with medicines, doctors and treatment tents and can transport those in need to hospitals. Our partners will offer family planning, HIV prevention resources and counseling. Doctors, nurses and counselors will travel to remote communities with medical supplies, equipment and tents. Our partners will erect the tents for a day or two in each community to treat patients and offer private medical consultation for women.

The mobile health units will do more than meet urgent needs. They will also provide preventative measures such as disease screening, immunization and health education.

Sep 4, 2012

Ana's Story

As a very young child in the northern highlands of Guatemala, Ana Ceto grew up at the height of a civil war, in an area where that war was most fiercely fought. Human rights abuses, especially against Indigenous Peoples, were widespread. She saw fields rich with produce and effort burned to nothing. Food was scarce and violence everywhere.

At 18, Ana began her work to demand human rights. She struggled to document the identities of displaced people rebuilding their lives. She worked with organizations to identify victims. She collected testimonies from survivors of massacres.

At 23, Ana, along with other community members, founded Muixil, a grassroots organization of Indigenous Mayan women working together to promote the health, well-being and rights of their families and communities.

Today, the vibrant colors of traditional weaving dance before her eyes when she gathers the wares produced by the women’s weaving cooperative in her home of El Quiche. Chickens cackle and cluck in the yards of Indigenous women in the community, many of them widows and single mothers. With help from Muixil, these projects help women build independence and economic self-sufficiency. They sell their weavings at market, and chickens produce eggs to sell and for their families to eat. Many mothers use the money they raise to send their children to school.

Ana herself is a mother of three small children. She knows how important it is to be able to provide for her children, put food on the table and send them to school—a right Ana had to fight hard for.

MADRE and Muixil also work together to help Indigenous women participate in political processes.

Recently, Ana testified before the United Nations Human Rights Committee, as they reviewed Guatemala’s human rights record. She described flagrant violations inflicted on Indigenous Peoples and women. She lent an impassioned voice to the findings of  the “Report on Violations of Women’s Human Rights in Guatemala” submitted to the Committee by MADRE, Muixil and other human rights groups.

“MADRE has given us strong support. You gave us the first funds for the weaving cooperative and made this trip to New York possible. We are very thankful,” she told the MADRE staff after her testimony at the UN.

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