Hello, Educate the Children supporters! I am writing to provide you with an update on our GlobalGiving.org project, "Help 832 women in Nepal start their own businesses."
Your support of this project is helping us solve two problems with one solution. How?
As you know, women in Nepal are traditionally expected to remain silent and subservient. They are discouraged from taking any public role, even from speaking their minds in public. Only one-quarter of women age 15 and older are literate, because schooling for girls is undervalued and often unaffordable. Girls are often married young - in their early teens, even - and become mothers soon thereafter. They typically move to their husbands' villages, where they likely have no family, close friends, or other support networks of their own - at first.
Through ETC's women's groups, these women become literate, gain access to the skills and resources (including microcredit loans) necessary to start their own small businesses, and achieve a sense of confidence in their abilities. They also become part of a peer group, through which they share their successes, lessons learned, and dreams for themselves and their families. They learn to speak up and advocate for their rights, knowing that they are not alone because their women's group "has their back."
By enabling women to start their own businesses, you and we are solving two problems: women's lack of empowerment, and families' lack of access to nutritious food.
Nepalese agriculture is characterized by subsistence farming and the concentration of most land in the hands of a few people. Most Nepalese live on $1.25 or less per day, and many women scrape an insufficient living by working in other people's fields. Food insecurity and malnutrition are all too common.
Most of the women with whom ETC works start small agri-businesses - goat and chicken farms and market gardening (often through the establishment of kitchen gardens next to their homes) are especially popular.
The women's small agri-businesses produce nutritious food such as goats' milk, eggs, leafy green vegetables, and fruits for families whose diet had previously consisted largely of rice. The extra income generated also helps buy more food to supplement what they can grow themselves. Whole families, even whole villages, become healthier. And the women who work so hard feel a sense of great pride, knowing that their efforts are not only materially helping their loved ones, but also winning them respect and higher status in their communities.
From all of us at ETC, thank you.
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