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Apr 4, 2019

Yina's Story

When MADRE first partnered with Taller de Vida (Workshop for Life) in Colombia in 2001, the war there had already been raging for decades. The prospect of peace seemed impossible to many – but not to our visionary grassroots partners. They have always kept peace in sight, even in the worst days of war. They work to meet people’s urgent needs, to build resilience and to bring healing through creative expression and community gatherings, focusing on children exploited as soldiers. Some of the young women our partners work with were just girls when they were forced into armed groups.

When Yina was barely 12 years old, she ran away from home, escaping an abusive family life. She was recruited by one of the armed groups active in her community’s region and became one of Colombia’s many children exploited as soldiers. When she finally was able to leave the group, after almost five years, she felt lost. Her childhood had been stolen from her, and she didn’t know how to rejoin her community. After years in an armed group, she had no outlet to express what she had gone through. But then, she found Taller de Vida, and she found other young people who shared her experience. With your support, she discovered her talent for theater and began performing in plays that told people’s stories of surviving the war.

Yina’s story shows the real impact of the work that you help make possible. Thanks to the support she found at Taller de Vida - and from you - she found a new community and purpose. Today, Yina is a social worker at Taller de Vida and a leader for young people following in her footsteps. In the photo you can see Yina, today, with her husband and children.

Photo credit: MADRE

Feb 25, 2019

Indigenous Information Network goes to Poland!

Rosemary speaking at the climate talks in Poland.
Rosemary speaking at the climate talks in Poland.

Thanks to your support, Indigenous women amplified their voices on the international stage. Members from our Kenyan partners at the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) traveled to Poland to attend the annual UN conference on climate change.

There, our partner, Rosemary, shared how climate change makes it harder for Indigenous women to feed their families. And when food becomes scarce, conflict can erupt between communities — with devastating impacts. She called for policymakers to address climate change issues and to uplift Indigenous women’s voices and solutions.

With your support, we are also able to hold workshops with IIN on climate justice and organize exchanges between local communities in Kenya. These activities create safe spaces for women to speak up, share their ideas on how to combat climate change, develop leadership skills and build closer bonds between communities.

Rosemary often leads and attends these workshops with IIN. They provide her with public speaking experience and helped her strengthen her leadership skills. She ultimately used this experience on the international stage at the UN conference on climate change! Thank you for making this work possible!

Photo credit: Indigenous Information Network

Feb 7, 2019

Aya's Story

With your help, our partners at the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) helped a woman named Aya,* and changed her life.

Aya, a widow and the head of her household, were terrorized living in ISIS-controlled territory. She faced unimaginable heartbreak, when her daughter and son were killed in ISIS attacks. She took her two sons and a granddaughter, and together they fled. They found a farm to work and live on. But conditions there were dismal, and they had little access to food and water. Things got even worse when she lost her job on the farm, and they ran out of places to go.

Our partners at OWFI are active in their local community and have a wide network of contacts. One local activist contact found out about Aya’s situation, reached out to OWFI, and asked them to help.

OWFI immediately mobilized to bring Aya and her family to a safe house, where they got the food and shelter they needed. OWFI provided the whole family with medical care.

OWFI also helps families obtain official identification documents, so they were able to get a birth certificate for Aya’s granddaughter. Now, she will have proof of her relationship to Aya and her nationality. A birth certificate will also enable her to go to school and get a job when she is older, see a doctor, and buy property.

Thanks to your support, Aya, her children and granddaughter are safe and receiving the care they need to heal and rebuild their lives. Thank you for making this lifesaving program possible!

*Names have been changed to respect the privacy of individuals.

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