In my travels I meet hard working mothers all over the world who get up every morning and make herculean efforts to make life better for their children. But in spite of all their work, they still cannot escape the pull of generational poverty. These women usually can’t afford school uniforms or tuition and are also hard pressed to afford medicine for their children when they get sick. Beleaguered moms have the energy and the will — but lack the way — to earn enough to bring their children into a life free of poverty.
OBI implements creative strategies to empower women by helping them earn more money. We teach a variety of vocations and provide training in skills ranging from cell phone repair in the Philippines to commercial sewing in Pakistan, jewelry making in Haiti, backyard farming in Guatemala, cosmetology in Mexico and small business training in El Salvador. We also give microloans to women with fledgling businesses in places like Benin, West Africa, where our efforts help disrupt the terrible tradition of desperate parents selling their children into slavery.
Learning a new skill enables a woman to leave the ranks of the always-underpaid, where raw labor is a cheap commodity and those without skills are susceptible to cruel exploitation. A woman with a newly learned skill can quickly earn her way into a better lifestyle, and in so doing, gain self-esteem, which fuels further success. I often interview women at vocational graduation events and always ask the same question: “What is the first thing you will do with your new earnings?” The two answers I almost always get, no matter where I am in the world, are “send my children to school” and “buy medicine for my children when they are sick.”
By helping fuel OBI efforts you are empowering women to earn a better living and enabling their children to escape the clutches of poverty. By supporting Operation Blessing you truly are helping to make the world a better place.