A Letter from Our Sisters at Zenab for Women in Development
By Erica Hellerstein - Project Leader
As famine struck East Africa, our partners at Womankind Kenya mobilized to provide emergency food and water to refugees. The members of the Women Farmers Union in Sudan, founded by MADRE's sister organization Zenab for Women in Development, wrote the following letter to the members of Womankind Kenya.
To Our Sisters at Womankind Kenya,
We stand with you in this time of tragedy and hardship. As women farmers of Sudan, we know what it is like to wait months for rain and to watch our children grow hungry. Every year, when we plant our crops, our families depend on us. Without rain, we have no harvest – we have nothing.
We made our Women Farmers Union so that we could support each other. Before that, the government did not recognize women farmers and gave tools, seeds and training only to the men. So we came together to share our resources and to demand that the government respect our rights.
In eastern Sudan where we live, farming has always been part of our lives. But recently, the droughts have gotten worse, and they come more often. We had to adapt how we farm. This is because of climate change, a danger created mainly by those in the rich countries.
Our friends at MADRE have helped us through the years, when the harvests have been good and also when the rains failed to come. They told us how refugee women and families are fleeing Somalia to Kenya. They told us that what you need are the resources to buy emergency food and water to help them live.
And so we are sending you the money that we saved after our last harvest. Usually, we use these savings to improve our communities. Last year, we put a roof on the local school. But this year, your needs are greater than ours. We are able to send you this money because we joined together as women farmers and made ourselves stronger. We hope you will be able to use this gift to feed your children and strengthen yourselves as women.
We send this to you with our blessings. As mothers and as farmers, the future depends on us.
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Project Leader: Yifat Susskind
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