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A Note from Vivian Stromberg for International Women's Day

Posted on: Friday, March 6, 2009

Keywords: Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Congo, International Womens Day

This Sunday, March 8, is International Women’s Day.

I'm writing to you from Nicaragua, where I am meeting with women I have worked with since MADRE made a major contribution of medicines, equipments and other supplies to the area's first women's hospital here 25 years ago.

We're talking about a phone call I received early this morning from our newest sister organization in Afghanistan. We are discussing how much more dangerous life is becoming for women and families there, how much more suffering they can possibly stand, and what we have to do to help. Last night I spoke with Yanar Mohamed, the founder of our sister organization in Iraq. We talked about the remarkable women MADRE is working with there, how they and their families are doing, how they are surviving, and in each case what we must do to help.

As we speak we are all acutely aware that, for many of the women we work with, winning human rights is a matter of life and death.

I am struck so deeply by what makes us MADRE, by how we become sisters--country to country, friend to friend, woman to woman--connected as much by the need to survive as by an extraordinary generosity of both heart and hand. MADRE is an intimate family, built over many years and through even more communities by the women, men, and children in those communities.

Here's what sets every MADRE project apart: we go beyond making sure that women and their families are not starving or subject to violence. We provide our sister organizations with the resources they need to do more than survive crises. We help them build a future for themselves and their communities and to fight for their right to do so.

In the coming months we will be partnering with new sister organizations in both Afghanistan and Congo, and addressing the devastating impact the US occupation has had on the women of Iraq. In each of these countries, women have suffered disproportionately in wars they did not create--and in each case a lasting peace will depend on women winning and exercising their rights. MADRE is committed to making that happen every day of the year.

Happy International Women’s Day from all of us at MADRE!

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