A Letter from Our Director:
April 24, 2017
It is with great joy that I announce we are opening up our business grant program once again, on a test case basis. Helen's story is remarkable, and she has tremendous support here in the US. We are happy to partner with her mentors here and in Ethiopia to help her launch a coffee shop.
We have been quietly continuing to maintain our school uniform program and our individual sponsorships for those we have previously connected with. We are not planning to expand those programs at this time, but are committed to honoring the promises our organization has made for the long term.
I am excited to see what the coming months brings for Women Equipped. Thank you for all of your continuing support as we adjust our sails and continue to stay true to our core values.
April 4, 2014
What a week I had in Ethiopia! It was humbling and inspiring to see the work happening in the field. The women I met with are examples of true ingenuity and hard work, and they are doing amazing things! Our first Women's Group was definitely a success. In that group, we provided training and grants for three sisters to launch small businesses. It was an honor to visit their homes and see their businesses in action.
I also had the opportunity to meet with three members of EWEF's Mother's Group, which was the inspiration for the majority of Women Equipped's focus. These three women are all running profitable small businesses from their home, allowing them economic independence and flexibility to care for their children.
I was also able to see the wider impact of their work - entire families, including children and the elderly, are benefiting from the profits of these businesses. Children are healthy and in school, bellies full of nutritious food. Family emergencies are more manageable - families have breathing room when inevitable challenges arise. The increase in economic stability has far-reaching effects into the financial, educational, and emotional well-being of all members of the household.
Our focus on creating small groups from within existing community relationships is working. Women who are neighbors and family members are able to provide day-to-day support and encouragement for each other, and extended families and communities benefit.
In short, after visiting the individuals and communities where we are working, I feel great about the direction Women Equipped is heading! We are doing what we set out to do - real good, with long-lasting impact.
I am grateful for the hospitality provided by our in-country director and her family - I enjoyed my time in Addis Ababa immensely, and I am looking forward to my next trip already! Thank you to our supporters and donors - I can assure you that your contributions are making a difference, and we are so thankful for your participation and support.
Betam amesegenalo - thank you so much.
Women Equipped works with families in and around Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We focus in serving the most vulnerable women-led households, providing micro grants, business training, and community outreach. We also provide sponsorships to meet the health, nutrition, and education needs of children involved in our program, alleviating economic stress as mothers build their businesses, and help families purchase school uniforms so their children can receive the education they need to build bright futures.
Women Equipped believes:
- real help means a sustainable investment, doing good over the long term.
- change for good starts with offering women the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and for their families.
- every child has a right to be raised in a loving family, and that the best place for most children is in their family and culture of origin.
Enabling family preservation and brighter futures for the next generation starts with helping vulnerable women to achieve financial stability and independence. Women Equipped believes the best way to help is to provide access to education, training, and resources.
What is Family Preservation?
Family preservation, in its most simple terms, is the work to keep children at home with their families and out of institutional care. In a practical sense in the context of our work, it means providing support to families before they find themselves in crisis sitations that might make placing precious and loved children in orphanage care one of a few limited options.
We believe that caring for the world's children starts with equipping parents with resources to do it themselves. The often cited "147 million orphans" is an incorrectly applied statistic, because it lumps in children who have one living parent, as well as children being cared for within their extended families. Women Equipped seeks to support those families in particular.
How UNICEF defines "Orphan": http://www.unicef.org/media/media_45290.html
"Orphan care" is a term that gets a lot of attention. We believe that true orphan care is best addressed, for most children, by efforts towards family preservation.