“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.” –Shannon Adler
In the last quarter, our supporters gave critical support totaling today so these women and girls can lift up their communities tomorrow. In total, $29,200 was raised and distributed in 7 countries.
For Gaza’s 2 million people, too often it feels like for every step forward, life takes two steps backward. So it is with mixed emotions that we share news from MECA’s Maia Water Project. We are pleased to announce that ConnectHER raised $9,000 to install a new advanced water purification unit in a school in Gaza. But our hearts are with the people of Gaza, where airstrikes have damaged critical infrastructure including a desalination plant and water pipes that serve at least 800,000 people, according to the New York Times. Maia coordinator Ghada Mansi reports that finding a site for the new water system will have to wait until roads and other infrastructure are repaired. During her recent rounds to check on Maia’s existing systems (see photo of her visit to the village of Al-Saquia), she found the once-familiar streets unrecognizable. “Homes and buildings alongside the streets were destroyed and unfamiliar. I was pained by the empty looks people had in their eyes as I passed by. I saw children looking through the rubble; I imagine they were looking for their toys or clothes. I saw our elderly sitting beside their destroyed homes, looking aimlessly and not even knowing where to start.” Your gift of clean water will bring hope and let the people of Gaza know they are not alone.
ConnectHER community’s $5,000 donation helped 10 women complete Terrewode’s pioneering 2-week Reintegration Program. This program, offered to women after they receive fistula repair surgery, includes counseling, safe motherhood education, family planning education and services, and other social reintegration support. All participants also receive income-generating training (in tailoring, baking, hairdressing, mechanics, and more), and many graduates go out into the community to teach people how to prevent fistula.
ConnectHER gave $5,000 to help the Rohingya Women’s Development Network to develop mental health support trainings by and for Rohingya women and expand their Malaysia-absed work here in the U.S. Displaced by a genocidal campaign in their country of Myanmar, Rohingya women carry a huge weight of unprocessed trauma. On top of the trauma of the violence they experienced or witnessed, many face ongoing challenges like domestic violence, child marriage, and sex trafficking. These trainings, which will be held online and in person, provide a safe space for survivors to support each other and share solutions.
In addition to monthly grants, we provide sustaining, year-round support for girls’ education. Educating girls is one of the most powerful ways to change to world. Thanks to the generous project sponsorhip from Human Act, our community funded scholarships for:
ConnectHER sends a huge thank-you to the members of the Interact Club of La Salle, Canada. The group of 12- to 18-year-olds recently raised $750 Canadian ($US 600) for our Sughar Foundation’s women’s livelihood project.
“We wanted to pick a smaller project, one that is not as well known,” says Hanna Jasey, 16. “We really wanted to see the impact. We also liked the idea of empowering women.” ConnectHER’s Sughar project fits the bill: it offers livelihood training at village centers in the tribal region of Pakistan—and empowers them in the process.
The Interact Club faced the challenge of hosting a fundraiser during Covid-19. Although they couldn’t go out into the community and talk to people, they posted their fundraiser on Facebook and Instagram. To provide an added incentive, they decided to sell metal water bottles in various colors. “We started with 49 water bottles,” says Hanna. “I was surprised that we were able to sell out quickly.”
The fundraiser’s success taught these teenagers that they can overcome challenges. “We would definitely be open to doing another project like this, because it went really well,” says Hana. “It made all of us feel really good. We feel like we really made an impact.”