This past year, I joyfully celebrated five years of freedom from cancer. My journey as a cancer patient was difficult, but I’ve been privileged to have support from my doctors, my friends, and my family. One December evening last year, I was frustrated that my body felt physically ill. I had been undergoing treatment and that evening I was struggling with anxiety while waiting for the final test results. However, as I began reading about one of The 1010 Project’s Kenyan partners, I was reminded of the barriers women around the world must face.
Globally, many women are not able to receive quality health care, support from friends and neighbors, safety, sanitized water, or food to sustain them through medical struggles and daily life. Poverty has many causes, yet for women, what is unique is that many live in poverty due to the lack of rights available to them.
* Of the 1.3 billion people living in absolute poverty, 70% are women.
* Two-thirds of children that are denied primary education are girls, and 75% of the world’s 876 million illiterate adults are women.
* Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, produce half of the world’s food, and yet earn only 10% of the world’s income and own less than 1% of the world’s property.
* 640,000 women and girls are trafficked across borders annually for the sex trade.
* Systematic rape is used as a weapon of war, leaving millions of females traumatized, impregnated, and infected with STDs including HIV/AIDS.
Did you know that March is Women’s Empowerment Month? Women’s Empowerment is about giving women a sense of self-worth, access to resources, a voice in their lives, and the ability to influence the society in which they live. Since March is Women’s Empowerment Month, we wanted to introduce a Kenyan partner that strives to empower women in unique ways.
Mother’s Concern, a partner of The 1010 Project since 2004, gives hope to women who face economic hardship. Without an education, job training, or property, many young women in the Kayole slum of Nairobi are forced into the sex trade in order to survive. Mother’s Concern offers hope by providing job training and childcare assistance to orphans.
The women produce fruit juice, make beaded bowls, and operate a tailoring business. Membership has almost doubled in the past year. Since August 2007, they have provided job training to over 100 young women, enabling them to make a safe and healthy living.
The women of Mother’s Concern are creating a sense of self-worth, providing job skills and resources, and giving women and young girls the ability to choose a different life: one that doesn’t include prostitution.
My experience with cancer has led me to a very interesting place in my life. I feel called and compelled to join with people in the sufferings and joys of life, just as many have done for me. My story and the story of Mother’s Concern has empowered me to lend my voice. I encourage you to join us in celebrating Women’s Empowerment Month by helping to give women a voice.
Thank you for joining with me to support The 1010 Project,
Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator
The 1010 Project