Tornadoes, earthquakes, blizzards and hurricanes. In the United States, we certainly experience our share of natural disasters. But most of us also have well-built homes, steady jobs and decent savings accounts. Often, when a blizzard heads our way, we wait it out and are able to resume our normal lives after the storm has passed. Even if our house has been damaged or altogether destroyed, we are typically able to recover because we have the resources to do so (with some exceptions). But for a woman living in a developing country, who already faces an array of daily struggles — a cyclone is a major crisis.
A struggling family
This was the reality of Liliwen and her mother, Machan. Their family was discriminated against because they were an ethnic minority in their region. This discrimination made it difficult for Liliwen to get an education, as her teachers assumed she lacked intelligence and talent. Machan’s skills and training were sparse, and her husband had health issues, so neither one was able to make an income for the family. Then, Sidr — a category-5 cyclone — struck the community, demolishing their home. How would this family survive their hardship?
Education gives power
Food for the Hungry provided new homes and latrines to those who had lost them in the storm, like Machan and Liliwen. After completing the initial relief work, FH worked to empower both mother and daughter to rise above the challenges they faced.
Because of FH, Machan now participates in a local savings and learning group, which enables women to meet together and learn skills such as literacy and leadership. Machan received training on fish cultivation and gardening; she then took a loan from the money pooled by her savings group. Now she makes a living for her family by growing produce, farming fish, and raising hens.
Through the child sponsorship program, Liliwen has learned about biblical principles, health practices and positive relationships with her peers and family. FH staff worked with the teachers at Liliwen’s school to combat the prejudice she had endured there. Liliwen has become very active in her school and community; she loves to serve others and help younger children with their schoolwork. This young woman now dreams of a future as a teacher — one who will not discriminate against her students.
Bring hope to women
In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, will you join us in serving the women who are faced daily with issues of poverty and gender-based injustice? You can make a lasting impact for these women by sponsoring a child like Liliwen or a Women of Action savings and learning group like Machan’s. Let’s spread hope to the women of Bangladesh and so many other countries where women are desperate for the education and empowerment that you and I are blessed with.