For Damaris Lopez, going to school was the worst part of her day. A shy girl by nature, she was relentlessly bullied and eventually dropped out. She’s not alone – over two million in Guatemala do not attend school, mostly girls. Thankfully, COINCIDIR is there, an organization that works locally to empower young girls and get them invested in their own education. COINCIDIR tackles the root problems of Guatemala’s dropout rate by focusing on women who feel excluded and by educating on the topics of reproductive health and financial independence.
Out of the darkness
Let girls be girls
Guatemala has an epidemic of underage pregnancy so severe that a quarter of all children are born to adolescent mothers. With this comes lack of education, economic limitation, and abuse. The solution lies with education and with GoJoven, an organization advocating for adolescent reproductive health. They use grassroots organizing to advocate for changes to Guatemala’s child marriage laws and to educate youth about their sexual rights.
We can do it too
The Last Mile Is The Longest
Achieving financial security is an uphill battle for women in rural Myanmar. To solve this, women are teaming up in extraordinary ways to lift themselves out of poverty and invest back into their communities. Together, they gather in groups to start communal savings banks, elect leaders, receive financial training and start small businesses, all while strengthening their social connections and ability to bring about change. This platform is possible through the award-winning micro banking program, WORTH, a subset of PACT Myanmar, one of the oldest running aid organizations in the country.
In Cambodia, the monsoon season can turn entire communities into islands for months at a time, cutting them off from medical services. In a country dealing with an alarming Tuberculosis crisis, this is a recipe for disaster. Thankfully for the people of Cambodia, the dedicated health workers of Operation ASHA travel by foot, by motorcycle, and even by boat to bring cutting-edge Tuberculosis care to the most isolated communities.
Light. Hope. Opportunity.
The Water Wheel
In Africa, women are using business and clean energy to transform lives. These women are Solar Sister entrepreneurs. Three quarters of Africa’s population live without access to modern energy, but by helping local women launch clean-energy businesses, more women in more places have the opportunity to bring energy to their communities.
Powerful images of Syrian refugees photographed by Lynn Johnson accompanied an inspiring live performance by Syrian-American composer and pianist, Malek Jandali. 4.6 million Syrians are refugees, and 6.6 million are displaced within Syria; half are children.
Estufa Mejor, Vida Mejor
My Fat Baby
Smoke from cooking fires is the deadliest threat to women and children under age 5, claiming over 4 million lives annually. StoveTeam International works within communities to provide safe cookstoves and reliable employment, saving lives with each unit sold.
Women in rural Benin used to watch helplessly as children went hungry during the annual dry season. The Solar Electric Fund (SELF) taught them how to move water from wells to gardens using solar power and drip irrigation, creating gardens year round. It’s hard work, but the results are worth it—independence, security and healthy fat babies.
Best Foot Forward
Sister to Sister, Stove by Stove
Podoconiosis (Podo) is a devastating and disfiguring disease caused when bare feet are exposed to volcanic soil. It affects millions of people in more than 15 countries, yet is preventable and treatable with simple washing and proper footwear. If farm workers are educated, Podo can be eliminated in our lifetime.
Smoke from cooking fires causes more than four million deaths per year and is the single leading cause of death for women and for children in the developing world. Over 2,000 Solar Sister entrepreneurs sell clean cookstoves and solar lights, helping in the fight to eliminate millions of deaths each year due to indoor smoke inhalation.
I Am Fine
mothers2mothers (m2m) is an African-based not-for-profit organization at the forefront of global efforts to eliminate pediatric AIDS and create healthy futures for mothers, their families, and communities.
BRAC funds schools and shelters for women and girls in rural Uganda. Tapaje Primary school has saved many girls from the evils of child marriage, and helps to nurture them into the intelligent and successful women that their communities need.
5 Million Trees
A full third of Uganda’s population lacks access to clean drinking water. WaterAid provides wells and proper sanitation to vulnerable communities, ensuring that children grow up happy and healthy, safe from waterborne diseases.
TIST empowers a rapidly expanding group of women farmers in Africa to counteract the devastating effects of climate change, deforestation, poverty and drought through an innovative yet simple solution: planting millions of trees.
On The Fringe
Of the 1.1 billion people worldwide who lack clean water, 300 million live in Africa. Collecting water becomes a tremendous burden for women and girls. Church World Service’s Water for Life program alleviates this need by installing sand dams, an inexpensive solution for drought-stricken communities.
When Runa Khan saw that climate change was eroding away land in Bangladesh and isolating entire communities from adequate medical care, she decided the best way to help was to outfit a ship as a floating hospital. The Friendship Organization does whatever it takes to care for Bangladesh’s vulnerable populations.
The Ripple Effect
State of Grace
Women in developing countries are the best investment the world can make. Ripple Effect Images is a team of world-class journalists working to document the programs that empower women and girls around the globe.
Mary Okeyo is a saint. On behalf of Church World Service, she visits the neglected in Kenya dispensing food, pain medicine and intimate care for women who have been largely forgotten.
The Business of Light
A Drink in the Desert
In sub-Saharan Africa, only 5% of the rural population has access to electricity. Solar Sister is teaching women in Rwanda to become solar saleswomen, creating economic opportunity and improving quality of life for Rwandans.
The Marwar desert of India is one of the driest places on earth. Jal Bhagirathi’s mission is to reintroduce ancient renewable water systems ensuring that desert communities flourish even in the driest seasons.
The Girls of Gashora
In much of India, girls are undervalued and are often not educated. Pardada Pardadi’s unique model helps to encourage families to send their daughters to school while giving girls the resources for future economic independence.
When a girl spends 7 or more years in school, she marries 4 years later and has 2.2 fewer children. The Rwanda Girls Initative has created a state of the art secondary school, The Gashora Girls Academy, that empowers girls with leadership skills that will have a lasting impact on their world.
Under Water: Climate Change in Bangladesh
Help a Woman, Help the Planet
Women in Bangladesh are watching their homes and land literally fall into the sea as climate change causes oceans to rise and populations to flee urban areas. In this powerful film, award-winning photographer Ami Vitale shows the very real consequences of global warming.
Multiple studies have shown that when poor women and girls are given an opportunity, they will pay it forward to their families, communities, and countries. They are part of a Ripple Effect that can save the planet.
Bit by Bit
Heifer Peru taught Elizabeth Villanueva Diaz, a single mother in the highlands of Peru, how to transform her experience herding alpacas into a new opportunity – one that she has paid forward to the women in her community.
Chintan’s mission is to provide support for the thousands of poor Indians who work as trash pickers and keep India’s megacities running. Chintan has helped them organize, receive government support and, most importantly, get children off the pile and into schools.
In This House
Heifer Peru’s Healthy Homes program gave Sofia Arivilca the tools she needed to build the first home of her life in the highlands of Peru. Sofia has gone from being homeless to being a leader among other women in her community.
CARE Peru taught Lourdes Pilco the veterinary skills she needs to sustain her livestock through extreme temperature changes currently affecting the high Andes. Lourdes can now afford to give her children the precious gift of education, and has even become the first woman in her community to ever be elected to public office.