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Edition: Winter 2019


MOTHER SPOTLIGHT: sanskrita

Community support leads to self-reliance

By: Claire Culver

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Everyone knows the saying "it takes a village to raise a child," in Gadhawa, Dang, it takes a village to support one mother. This is what the Samjhana Mothers Group is all about; encouraging, supporting, and protecting the woman in the village. Each mother that is involved in the microcredit program has their own story of what brought them together and how the Mothers Groups has helped to change their lives.

Meet Sanskrita Chaudhary. At 35 years old she is the mother of two children and wife to a husband she rarely sees. Sanskrita was married when she was 19 years old and two years later, her husband got a job as a labor worker in India. Following this, her husband moved to India and is now there for periods of a year or longer: when he does get the chance to come home and visit, he is only home for a month at the most. For the first 7 years, after Sanskrita's husband moved, she was living off of her husband's salary of 15,000 rupees (~$175 CAD) a month, this was meant to support her and their two young children.

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However, around 2011, just after Sanskrita had her second child, she became an active member of the Samjhana Mothers Group. At this point she felt she had few skills that could earn her a living. Through the women in her village, she learnt a few tailoring skills but she still did not have a machine or work place that would hire so that she could utilize these abilities. After attending the first few meetings, Sanskrita was very surprised to learn all the different ways that the women were earning money. Through the group, she was exposed to many new ideas and possibilities and was for the first time surrounded by support from people other than her family. Within the first year of her attending the Mothers meetings, Sanskrita had requested her first loan of 2000 rupees ($23 CAD) to purchase a sewing machine. She received the loan and through the few skills that she already knew she was able to run a little shop out of her house, tailoring items for people in the community. This extra source of income gave her the ability to take better care of her children and make sure that they both were able to attend school. As it was a small loan she was able to pay it back very quickly.

Sanskrita explained that after this first loan her husband began to support the idea of her being a part of the program as he realized how much it could benefit the family. Although this extra income helped, it was still not very much to live on. Her husband could only send some of his monthly salary and it usually arrived late. Therefore, Sanskrita continued to attend the meeting, learning from the woman other ways to make money and take care of one's family.

In the beginning of 2018, she requested a loan for the amount of 12000 rupees ($140 CAD) to purchase her first water buffalo. Again she was granted the loan and was able to buy a female buffalo for her house. With this purchase, she was then able to stay at home continuing her tailoring, while milking the buffalo for dairy to sell in the local market. With this additional income she paid back the loan within 6 months and asked for another loan for 15000 ($175 CAD) rupees to buy a second female water buffalo.

Sanskrita now continues to do her tailoring whilst looking after her two children, 7 and 14. She uses the buffalos for milk and reproduction. Even though she is now able to support herself and her children, she continues to attend the Mothers Group meetings. She sees the importance of these meetings as they continue to expose her to different ways to create an income and take care of one's family. The Samjhana group has created a place where she can go to find help and community among her peers.


student SPOTLIGHT: Abina

NOTES FROM THE FIELD

*Notes from the field are written by our partner, in-country staff, each of whom speak 3-4 languages. These spotlights are not edited for precise grammar so as not to lose the original voice of the author.
By: Deepa (Empowerment Through Education - Field Coordinator)

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Abina is 17 years old. She studies in grade 9. She is hardworking and laborious student. Her hard subjects are science, English and math. She likes to study Science and Environment. She has many friends at school. She experiences and shares to us that school life is the best part of life. According to her, in school life we get chance to learn many things and make our life bright.

Abina says, “ If there was no support to  her, she would not get opportunity to study in English school. Her friends  already married, if she did not study she would also be married.”

She feels lucky now. She says, “ The home visit and meeting with Deepa motivates her for further study”

Abina's family life is still very difficult. There are 4 members in her family, father, mother, older brother and Abina. Her parents were bonded slave in the past. They had only small mud house.

After rescuing from Bonded, her parents went to labor work. Her father became physically handicapped. Then her mother felt very difficult to run the livelihood. Her older brother also studied by the help of CP up to grade 10. Then he left his study and went to construction work. Her mother joined mother group and took loan from it. She kept small shop. According to her family, all the family members work hard. Now her older brother is earning an income from the construction work and her father's health is a bit better.

She told that her family along with her is very thankful to the support.


Hero Girls launch

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Her International, with financial support from SureCall Contact Centers through their GoodCall program, is very excited to announce the launch of the Hero Girls program!

This program is a course offered to adolescent girls and will use innovative hands-on methods to connect participants with the HERO WITHIN. Each girl will ground herself to stand in her own power and seek to encourage and empower those around her.

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The participants will learn personal development skills such as problem solving, communication, teamwork, and leadership through practicing entrepreneurship projects. After they complete their training and business project, they are invited back to serve as mentors to their peers taking the next round of training.

January 2019 marks the beginning of our pilot program in rural Nepal with our in-country partner, Creating Possibilities.


Maghi Festival

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The Maghi festival is the annual holiday held in January when historically young girls would be sold into bonded servitude as kamlari. Now together with the local community, Maghi is embraced as a FREEDOM festival instead of one that used to be associated with bondage. Maghi is now a chance for women, girls, and all the families in the area to gather to celebrate WOMEN. To celebrate their learning, their rights, their voice, and their value.

We hold public speaking forums where women share their experiences and opinions through spoken poetry and debate competitions. They embrace that they too can be physically active through games and sporting events with the prizes being cooking and agricultural tools.

Her International celebrates education as we disburse bicycles to our students and others in need in the community. These bicycles help the girls get to school more quickly and safely, allowing them more time to complete their home and academic duties.


International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is means A LOT to us a Her International and so we mark the occasion locally and globally in several ways. There are a tons of ways to get involved!

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Empowerment Popups

Lastly year we held a dozen Empowerment Pop Ups around the globe - ranging from places like Mongolia to Hong Kong! Each location chose their own topic to discuss, venue, and speakers making each unique and reflective of the local needs and circumstances.

This year we are excited to offer our GLOBAL Empowerment Pop Ups again! Want to host a pop up in your area? Message us for a free empowerment pop up activation kit. Want to find out if there will be one in your neighbourhood?

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, or feel free to call or email us for more information. (Click here to be directed to our CONTACT page)

Celebration Events

This year we are holding our annual Hope in Her Eyes gala on International Women’s Day (see details below). Tickets are selling out fast! Get yours HERE!


I STAND WITH HER

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From March 1st to March 8th we will be running a digital campaign to spread awareness of and raise money for our work to stand in solidarity with marginalized women. Upload a photo of you and the women you love, hashtag #IStandWithHer and you’ll show up on our website takeover page. You can make a big difference when you donate to our Facebook fundraising campaign. {We will have a matching donor for the first 24 hours of donations!} And you’ll be able to find more resources on our website during that time. See you in March!


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Hope In Her Eyes

March 8th at the Laurel Packinghouse

Our annual fundraiser is back! We are teaming up again with local charity H.O.P.E. Outreach to raise money for homeless + exploited women. Get your tickets now for the can’t miss International Women’s Day event in Kelowna!


volunteer trip to build classrooms

Her International sent a team of volunteers to Dang, Nepal to build four classrooms at the Janata School in Gadhawa Rural Municipality, a school with over 1,500 students. The project was co-funded by the local government. The Her International team consisted of 13 volunteers from Canada under the leadership of Kevin Edgecombe, also President of Her International. 

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The contruction took place over 10 days and was done side by side with local contractors and labourers for a combined work for of over 200 people. The volunteers laid bricks, tied rebar and helped pour the roof. 

The four classrooms will be used as a library, science labs, information and communication technology centres. The students expressed eagerness and excitement to be able to learn more about science and the vital field of ICT with the ever growing importance of computers and internet. 

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The team also visited several Mothers’ Groups where they were able to observe their activities and the process of savings and making loans. Participants reported that visiting these groups and the cultural experiences, such as visiting the home of one of the Dang staff for a meal was a highlight of their trip!

The team also visited different mother’s groups to observe the activities of the micro loans. They became happy seeing the impact of the micro loans at mothers’ groups meetings. They surprised that how a small loan is changing the lives of these deprived women.

One of the participants, Hugh Culver, did a crowd-funding campaign that raised $24,210 to help fund the build and girls scholarships. To honor Hugh’s contribution Her International granted him the opportunity to name the build which he called “Eleanor House” after his mother who passed just the year before. 


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HER AMBASSADORS

“Her Ambassadors” are a group of passionate people who have committed to be ADVOCATES and ACTIVATORS for our organization. They work closely with our organization to develop their own fundraising initiatives, to sell Unako products, or to raise awareness for our cause. Ambassadors are featured on our website and awarded Her Ambassador badges (see right) for their websites and business cards.

feature ambassador: colleen CHAPMAN

Online campaign: Support Savings and Self-Reliance!

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Colleen has a passion for helping women! She is fundraising for our Mother’s Groups which assist women with savings, starting business and teaches them life skills.

Colleen’s company has agreed to match donations up to $10,000 for this! Please help her reach her goal. We are beyond grateful.

See her online campaign HERE

 

we are hiring!

Her International is thrilled to announce that we are officially hiring a Chief of Social Enterprise for our stunning Unako products.

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The products the Unako enterprise sells help fund Her International's current programs in Canada and Nepal. Currently Unako sells handmade scarves, bags, and jewellery made by a team of 12 women in rural Nepal, empowering them with economic opportunity in a fair and safe working environment. 

The Unako Chief Social Enterprise Officer will work directly with Her International's Co-Executive Directors and Finance Officer to develop product, sales and marketing strategies. 


See job description at www.HerInternational.org
Email info@HerInternational.org with resume and letter of intent.

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UNAKO SCARVES + JEWELLERY

Buy merchandise that inspires

 

Globally Fair
3001 Tutt Street
Purchase our scarves and jewellery at the number one fair trade shop in the Okanagan. 
 

Peter’s Your Independent Grocer
1835 Gordon Drive

You can find all of your grocery needs, along with a lot of local options, at Independent Grocer in the Capri Shopping Mall. And soon you will be able to shop for a cause with our scarves in front of the Customer Service Desk and our jewellery on checkout at Aisle 1+2.


WE WANT TO HEAR YOUR VOICE

Excited by all that you see happening and want to have a say?
Become a member today for only $35 (tax deductible).

Your $35 annual contribution not only funds Her programs but also makes you a voting member of our registered charity. Members direct the future of Her International by voting on overarching organizational changes and the board of directors.You receive the Annual Report and are formally invited to our AGM in October. 

You also enjoy 20% off scarves and bags on our Social Enterprise website: Unako.ca! 


Thank you for being a part of this journey in supporting and empowering girls & women around the world. 

 

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