8 March, 2017
The Power of Women
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we want to acknowledge all the women who contribute to making amazing things happen. Whether it’s our volunteers, supporters, staff or beneficiaries, we’re grateful for your contribution – without you, ADRA would be nothing!
We want to highlight some inspiring women who are making an amazing difference here in Australia and right around the world.
Bopha Sun (Cambodia)
Today, Bopha Sun is a happy and thriving woman – but a few years ago, the picture was completely different. Bopha Sun grew up in a rural farming area in Cambodia. When she was just 10 years old, her mother fell ill and Bopha Sun was forced out of school, robbing her of the vital life skills to make the most of her future. Years later, she struggled to provide enough food and money to support her own family, and she was often forced to borrow money and fall into debt.
It was the promise of literacy training and improved rice yields that encouraged Bopha Sun to become involved with ADRA’s agriculture project. She doubled her rice yield and now earns enough money to send her kids to school. “There has been a big difference in my life,” Bopha Sun says. “I feel very confident – I can do anything I want to do!” Bopha Sun works hard to ensure that her children don’t have to face the challenges she did. “My dream is for my children to finish their education and find a good job. I work very hard in the field to make this possible for them,” Bopha Sun says.
Pam Wood (Queensland)
The phone rings. Pam Wood glances down at her mobile and answers in a cheerful voice. It’s yet another person seeking help from the ADRA Community Centre at Logan Central, south of Brisbane. “We have been inundated with people needing food. We do over 500 food parcels a week,” Pam says.
The centre helps tens of thousands of people every year by providing emergency relief and furniture for homeless people, refugees and survivors of domestic violence; most volunteers at the centre are past beneficiaries. Pam learnt to be faithful during challenging times. “God is good at his word. As long as we keep remembering that he’s in charge, we’ll be fine.” Pam recently retired after 12 years managing the centre, but she reflects back fondly on her time there. “I’m just so proud that we’re able to do what we do.”
“I have my dreams for my children and what I want them to become in the future,” says August. “I want them to become teachers, nurses and leaders.” August grew up in a poor village in East New Britain province in Papua New Guinea and only completed part of primary school. She did learn to read, but never completed her education. Through ADRA’s Wellness Project, August received literacy training, and has learnt how to sew. “I earn an income now to support my family, especially for school fees and other family needs.”
With men almost twice as likely as women to hold a paid job due to gender inequality, education is a key driver for change. “Literacy helps us to realise bigger and better things that will help change our lives,” August says. Best of all, August is now using her skills to help others. “Whatever I know, I must teach other mothers to learn what I have learnt.”
Seventeen-year-old Jacinta is a very proud Aboriginal woman from the Wakka Wakka and Gooreng Gooreng nation, and she has big dreams: she wants to be a doctor. But growing up amidst the challenges of a disadvantaged environment, she wasn’t always so sure of her future. “I grew up in a strong but tough community surrounded by alcohol, drugs and crime,” Jacinta says.
But then Jacinta was invited to attend DreamTrack. Through fun team-building activities and mentoring, she developed healthy life skills, increased resilience and greater self-esteem. Since joining DreamTrack, Jacinta has matured, gained more confidence, and now she’s now a leader and a mentor to the younger children.
As a child, Linh was unable to finish school, causing her to miss out on fully developing her skills. After giving birth to her second child, Linh was diagnosed with a heart problem, affecting her ability to work. Linh felt frustrated that she ddin’t have the skills and resources to help improve the wellbeing of her family and community. “I felt disappointed sometimes because of the sickness and other challenges.”
After taking part in ADRA’s Sustainable Livelihood Development Project, Linh quickly became a leader. Her passion to help others saw her teach 75 people about sanitation and hygiene, as well as helping build latrines. Now, she takes a lead role in bringing positive change to her village and working hard to use her skills to help the whole community. “I have regained confidence and motivation for life, so I feel better now.”
When Louise Ginn heard the tragic story of a newborn baby found abandoned in a bush toilet in Vanuatu, she instantly knew she had to do something. “I don’t think any mother should feel they need to abandon their child, but there are women in Vanuatu that feel they have no other option,” says Louise, herself a mother of four. “I would like to give them another option.” So she organised a 1000km tandem bicycle ride with her son to fundraise $100,000 for the Blossom project. The 10-day epic helped provide much-needed funds for the project to continue saving lives.
Thank you to all the women involved with ADRA who are helping amazing things happen.
It’s our hope that girls and women everywhere feel empowered today – and everyday! – so that one day we can achieve equality all around the world.