Every day, Week of Compassion uplifts women around the world who suffer oppression due to their gender, especially on this International Women's Day. We work with partners to support programs intentionally designed to empower women, most notably through educational and employment opportunities. Week of Compassion created the Women's Empowerment Fund to demonstrate dedication to this issue and give YOU the ability to specifically support women. We know that if women are afforded the same opportunities as men, communities become more productive, sustainable, and peaceful. We praise the work of our partners, such as Prosperity Catalyst, working with women in microfinance programs in Iraq and in Haiti; IMA World Health, providing healthcare to women in rural places; and CWS, facilitating adult literacy classes targeted to women. We thank God this day, and every day, for the opportunity to fight alongside strong women to claim their rights and make the world a better place.
Drought Draws Support to Nicaragua
When the rains didn't start falling in August as had been expected, the staff of Fundación San Lucas became very concerned. The drought in Nicaragua had started back in May 2015, and families throughout Central America had already lost their first corn and bean crops. Now the lack of moisture was threatening the second harvest, and rural families had few opportunities available to them. Some families had already made the tough decision to send a family member to Costa Rica to work in the sugar cane fields. Others had sold off their livestock for a little income, but the prices they received were low. A few families decided to eat the seed they had stored for the second planting. It was clear that if the drought continued, vulnerable families would suffer from hunger in the coming months.
Fundación San Lucas's staff began working with the rural communities that their nonprofit organization serves in the dry corridor of Nicaragua. In Santa Gertrudis, they worked with Melba, a tireless community leader to develop criteria for identifying the most vulnerable families. Melba and other community volunteers went door to door, and interviewed those in their community to see which families had to ration their meals. They also created a list of households in Santa Gertrudis that included single mothers, elderly family members, and people with disabilities, as these people didn't have the option of migrating or working in the city as day laborers.
Fundación San Lucas repeated this process in the surrounding communities and identified one hundred families that would suffer the most if the drought continued. August and September passed and still there were no signs of rain. It was at this point that Fundación San Lucas reached out to Week of Compassion for help as it was clear there would be no second harvest. Fortunately, Week of Compassion responded. Vulnerable families received a package of food to supplement the help they were receiving from their neighbors.
Doña María from Santa Gertrudis shared "I live with my brother and sister, who are older than I am, and my daughter and her children. My daughter is unable to work because she suffers from epilepsy. We were eating just two pounds a week between the six of us. Children in our community had fainted at school from hunger. Then food packages came and I thought, God has remembered us. Please say thank you to the people who helped."
Adela from the community of La Pita shared, "I am thankful for the food packages. I am retired and don't have a salary, and with the drought there was no harvest. I didn't have a place to turn. I give thanks to God because you showed us his love for us through your help."
by Alex Morse of Foods Resource Bank, a partner of Week of Compassion
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