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Happy 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day!


Written by Plant With Purpose on March 8, 2011 in General

Building skills to pay the bills: Plant With Purpose joins with women to build vital skills they can use to earn income, provide for their families, overcome poverty, and serve their communities.

by Aly Lewis

One hundred years ago today, the first International Women’s Day was held to rally women around the world to stand up for equality and dignity. That makes today the 100th anniversary (or cool new word: the centenary) of International Woman’s Day. People everywhere are celebrating the economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present and future. Even Google is spreading the word with their cool doodle and encouraging web users to donate to organizations that empower and uplift women.

Here at Plant With Purpose we want to celebrate women throughout our programs. Plant With Purpose empowers women to overcome poverty and provide for their families in a number of different ways. One way is by helping women identify and develop unique skills and talents they can use to earn income, start small businesses, and serve their communities.

Leoni Karenzo, from the village of Muzye in Burundi, is one such woman. During Burundi’s recent civil war, Leoni escaped to Tanzania to find refuge from the violence.  In Tanzania she received training in a refugee camp on how to make improved woodstoves. She returned five years later to her village with nothing but a small plot of land to rebuild her life and provide for her family. As part of a Plant With Purpose community group, Leoni was encouraged to use the training she received to help herself and others. She received additional training from Plant With Purpose on this improved technology, and she and other returnees are sharing their knowledge with other group members. This skill has helped build Leoni’s self-esteem by giving her dignity in her work and demonstrating to others that she has something valuable to contribute to her community’s future, while at the same time helping Plant With Purpose to promote a valuable technology.

Leoni has also received agriculture training that has helped her make the most of her small plot of land, which is now producing a variety of crops. The improved soil and increased yields have enabled her to feed her family and send her children to school. This is just one of many examples of women who are being empowered to provide for their families and contribute to family income. By empowering women to increase their income in an environmentally sustainable way, otherwise impoverished women have the freedom and ability to make strategic decisions regarding their family’s health, nutrition, education, and economic welfare.

On behalf of Leoni, the Plant With Purpose staff, and all the women Plant With Purpose works with who are experiencing empowerment and transformed lives for themselves and their families, happy International Women’s Day!

To donate to Plant With Purpose’s Women’s Empowerment programs, click here.

For more stories and cool ways you can get involved with Plant With Purpose’s efforts to empower women click here.


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