Today marks the 104th International Women’s Day. Under this year’s theme, Making it Happen, governments, organizations and individuals celebrate the social achievements of women and come together to advocate for the future of women’s health and economic stability and rights.
For us at HFWA, Anawim Home provides a perfect embodiment of the spirit of Making it Happen. In addition to their other outreaches, Anawim Sisters and staff put enormous energy into their programs for women in the two West African countries in which they work.
In Nigeria, where the general population faces an unemployment rate of 21.1% and the female unemployment rate it 24.9%, young women especially struggle to make a living.* While women do make up 42.8% of the workforce, in 2013, 70% of Nigerians living below the poverty line were female.**
Sister Oresoa and the staff at Anawim Home have made it their mission to address the issues that have thrust people into poverty. Their non-judgmental fellowship with Nigerian women living in brothels, the housing and social support they provide for pregnant young women and young mothers who have been abandoned to them, their monthly health talk events and their daily clinical care all demonstrate a determined dedication to the West African woman and mother.
Anawim not only supports women in their immediate crises, but also works to help each woman ensure a sustainable future for herself and her family. Anawim provides vocational training to any woman who is willing to work. Providing sewing, knitting, cooking, music and hair salon skills training courses in both Kaduna and Abuja, Nigeria, these sisters and staff have afforded employable skills to hundreds of Nigerian women in need. HFWA is excited to announce that we are working with Anawim to develop a pilot microloan program in which 45 of these ladies, gathered into four 'trust' groups will receive loans to begin building their businesses. As they pay back their loans, all funds will go directly into the skills building program. Stay tuned to learn more about the exciting developments!
*Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics. National Manpower Stock and Employment Generation Survey, 2010
**Tinuke. M. Fapohunda. Women and Poverty Alleviation in Lagos, Nigeria. British Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences,January 2012, Vol. 3 (2) 87