Stories of our Sisters
Posted on: Monday, July 13, 2009
Iraq: Art Action for Peace“The US gave us a government that plunged us into civil war,” Yanar Mohammed says. “But in Baghdad, there were brave Sunni and Shiite youngsters who refused to hate each other.”
“With MADRE’s help, we offered them the space to keep their dreams of peace alive—to say no to extremism and to US occupation. Now they are joining together, using music and spoken-word poetry to call for women’s rights and peace. At our first public gathering, 100 people risked their lives to come together like this. Now we get crowds of 2,000—young women and men who yearn for peace and won’t be silenced.”
Afghanistan: The Afghan Women’s Survival FundZarghuna Kakar, a member of the city government in Kandahar, was with her family in a market when they were attacked by ultra-conservatives who don’t want women to play any role in public life. Zarghuna’s husband was killed and she has since been forced into hiding. MADRE created the Afghan Women’s Survival Fund to enable women whose lives are threatened to flee to safety and continue their work for women’s rights. The Fund supports an underground network of women dedicated to providing escape routes, shelter and secret transport to women who have been targeted because they dare to exercise their basic human rights. MADRE works to end the US occupation of Afghanistan. Ultimately, it is Afghan women, not the US military, who will win women’s rights in Afghanistan.
Nicaragua: Harvesting Hope“We are Indigenous People,” says Patricia Zararias of Nicaragua, “and the forest has always been our source of food. When the government suddenly told us this was private property, we began to go hungry. My eight-year-old daughter stopped laughing. We did a survey with doctors and found that we had a 75 percent malnutrition rate in my community. We had to find a solution and with MADRE we did."
Harvesting Hope has trained thousands of women in sustainable small-scale organic farming and livestockmanagement, providing seeds, ongoing training and farm animals. A seed bank enables women to cultivate, save and exchange seeds. "Now we have food, we have farms, we have hope.”
Kenya: Banishing Violence Against WomenRebecca Lolosoli founded Umoja Village as a refuge for women fleeing sexual and domestic violence. Today, Umoja is a beacon to women for miles around. Girls in the village are not coerced into circumcision or early marriage and they go to school alongside their brothers.
Rebecca’s daughter, Sylvia, is the first woman in the community to attend a university. “Most people would say that we are poor,” Rebecca says with a smile. “But we feel like queens because we have won our freedom. We tell the world: Umoja is a violence-against-women-free zone.”
Sudan: Women Farmers UniteFatima Ahmed is optimistic. “Before, women had no hope, no access to seeds or the tools to grow food for our families. Climate change was on us and the crops failed. Our children were dying. Now we have big hope because we are growing food for ourselves and our neighbors.” Although women grow most of the food crops in Sudan, farm programs traditionally excluded them. MADRE’s local partner launched the first ever women farmers’ union in the country. MADRE provides seeds, tools and technical assistance, and the results are powerful. With a union that has grown to 2,000 members, Fatima says, “we are farming for everyone. We are even growing food to deliver to Darfur.”
Colombia: Protecting Children of WarMarta, kidnapped and forced to fight as a child soldier at age 11, was eventually released into the streets of Bogota. She could barely read and was haunted by her exposure to multiple killings.
Marta found MADRE’s partner, Taller de Vida, and today she helps hundreds of other young people at the learning center heal from the wounds of war and create their own alternatives to lives of violence. “They are giving me una
nueva vida (a new life).”
Peru: Wisdom of Our Elders
Lidia, a Quechua elder from Ayacucho says, “Before I found the women’s center, I was cold, hungry and alone. I lost my husband and son in the war and I had nobody.” Through its local partner, MADRE provides the means for families to open their arms and homes to elderly Indigenous women left homeless by two decades of bloody conflict. “The women here found me a new adoptive family. I spend my time with the young ones, who have made me smile again.”
Archives"Press Room" Home September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 July 2006 June 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 April 2005 March 2005 November 2004 October 2004 April 2004 March 2004 January 2004 December 2003 October 2003 September 2003 June 2003 April 2003 January 2003 September 2002 June 2002 January 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 January 2001
MADRE & Our Partners Make News
Breaking the gridlock of climate change negotiations: learning from allies (openDemocracy, September 29, 2014)
Peru TV slammed by UN as racial stereotypes paraded for cheap laughs (The Guardian, September 3, 2014)
In Iraq, women 'are the battlefield' (Women Under Siege , August 12, 2014)
Haitian woman faces death threats for speaking out about violence against women (WBEZ Worldview, July 16, 2014)
Media Spotlight Turns Away from Iraq, as Concerns Mount Over Human Rights and Political Stalemate (Uprising Radio, July 11, 2014)