Newsletter 6 (May 2021, English)
Dear Donors and Friends of FrauenPower e.V.,
We hope you are all keeping well during these difficult times.
We had hoped that this Newsletter, unlike the previous two, would be full of exciting news and achievements from the projects we support, and that we would not need to refer to Covid 19 that still continues to haunt everyone around the world. We have all experienced the various waves in different capacities, experienced death of loved ones or of someone we know, endured the numerous lockdowns and curfews, got excited about the jabs, had to face financial difficulties in different ways, and much more. As expected, all our projects have suffered in different ways in the past year, largely because of the havoc caused by Covid 19.
Yet, many of us, including the people we work with and the women we empower in Kenya, India and Nepal, have looked at Covid 19 in the face and showed resilience and energy to fight it. The organisations we work with have done their best to continue working whenever it was possible to do so. Despite the constraints, a number of women and girls were empowered with our support in the past few months as you can read from the updates that follow.
Giving people a few days of relief
As you all know, Covid 19 continues to make people's lives, especially in the poorer nations, very difficult and unpredictable. FrauenPower had spent a large proportion of its funds on Covid 19 Relief work in 2020 (distributing food rations, clean water, masks, hand sanitizers, etc.) and this year we also continue helping people that are very desperate and close to starvation (mainly because they cannot go to work due to travel restrictions and curfews). Our Covid Relief activities in Kenya and Nepal have started and we will be focusing on India next. If you wish to help the communities where we work with food rations, please get in touch with us. The recipients of such rations are always most grateful. Remember that 100% of the funds donated to FrauenPower e.V. are used for the purpose they are meant for, and not for running the operations of our charity.
Brief Update on Projects we have Supported
As mentioned earlier many of the organisations that we work with, to empower girls and women, continued their important work whenever it was possible to do so. Below is a brief update of their achievements. If you are interested in learning more about these projects, please get in touch or check out our website: www.frauen-power.eu
KADAM Resource Centre for Girls (KRCG) Centre for Development, Ahmedabad, India
We have been funding the KADAM Resource Centre, where 30 traumatized or neglected girls are provided with a space where they can take part in therapy sessions, training, literacy and educational programs, and other workshops, for the past two years. The Centre has been mostly closed for the past year, due to government restrictions and the Centre’s management not wanting the girls to move around as a precautionary measure. However, all girls have been receiving online/virtual support during this time. We provided the girls, who did not have Smartphones, with Tablets and credit for Internet access so that they could continue with their one-to-one classes. This personal assistance is very important for the girls who mostly live in confined spaces in the informal settlements, and whose circumstances at home have gotten worse due to the lockdowns and large families spending a lot of time together. Despite the difficult situation, we are proud to say that a number of girls have (largely as a result of KADAM’s dedicated staff) managed to sit for their school exams and passed them well. Two of the KADAM girls have managed to get admission in the prestigious St. Xavier College in Ahmedabad.
Literacy and Tailoring Project for the Missing Tribal Women Institute of Culture and Rural Development (I-CARD), Assam, India
After successfully empowering over 800 women in 2019, and taking a long break in 2020 due to Covid 19, the work to empower over 500 more women in 2021 is already underway (with limited Covid related restrictions in this part of India). The aim of this very important project is to teach illiterate tribal women (in remote villages) their local language alphabet so that they can read basic words and text, and can sign their own names. I-CARD reports of improved self-confidence among the first group of women, who are very proud of their achievements and would like to receive further classes. During classes, which are being conducted in numerous villages, three to four times a week, the women are also informed about human rights, raising children, saving money, menstrual hygiene management, health, and so on. We have this year also started supporting a second project, in partnership with I-CARD, that teaches women tailoring skills in remote villages in Assam. The 5 sewing machines bought with our support, move from village to village every few months with their trainers, so that another group of women can be trained. The aim of this project is for the trained women to start their own small tailoring businesses that would enable them to earn an extra income.
Digital Empowerment for Lucknow Adolescent Girls (Udaan)
Shohratgarh Environmental Society (SES), Lucknow, India
With our support, three UDAAN Education Centres have been set up in the informal settlements in Lucknow, to provide digital literacy classes to over 325 girls. The Centres have largely been kept open by ensuring that only a small number of girls can visit the Centre at any one time. Apart from digital skills, over 250 girls are participating in English speaking classes with many having passed the exams this year. The Centres also provide counselling sessions on health and nutrition, conducts dialogue with community leaders and parents to improve the girls' futures, and builds up mentors that work with the local communities to suss out existing problems and find ways to address them. This initiative has been quite successful and there are plans to open up new Centres later this year.
Promoting Kitchen Gardens among Marginal Tribal Communities
Voluntary Integration for Education and Welfare of Society (VIEWS), Odisha, India
This project supports the social and economic empowerment of around 300 tribal women in 10 villages in Odisha. The women are taught how to: start organic vegetable/kitchen gardens, make compost from kitchen waste, and undertake sustainable agriculture practices through 30 women's self-help groups. After the initial training, the women receive compost and seeds for various vegetables to grow. Most women are already harvesting and consuming vegetables, and selling off extras to earn an income. The women have also been carrying out good deeds (such as keeping their environment clean and planting trees) and thereby earning social capital credits that they can redeem for seeds or other agriculture products. Most of these women are also illiterate and have taken part in the Signature Campaign where they are taught how to sign their names.
The Zuri Initiative Women’s Empowerment Program (ZIWEP) and Vertical Gardening Initiative
The Zuri Initiative Trust, Nairobi, Kenya
Our women’s empowerment work in Kenya has suffered considerably in the past year due to Covid 19. FrauenPower has been supporting the Zuri Women’s Empowerment Program (ZIWEP), conducted by the Zuri Trust, for the past three years. ZIWEP training had just resumed in February but classes had to be halted once again because of the rising number of infections, worries about the trainers and trainee’s health, and the government directive. Training institutes have restarted teachings (as of 9.05.2021) and Zuri hopes to resume its training by mid-May. The women Zuri trains do not have Smartphones, let alone computers, and therefore virtual training is out of the question for most. It is hoped that at least 50 women can undergo the ZIWEP training with our support this year. Zuri has, however, been active (with our financial assistance) in other ways and helped a number of women start vertical gardens during the pandemic, so that they and their families have some healthy greens to eat. We funded the sacks, mash, soil, seeds and training for these vertical gardens, as part of the redeeming process of the earned social capital credits (that women had collected doing social good in their communities). The gardens are a big hit and are being replicated in other slums with the support of our partner organization Asia Initiatives.
Health camps for Women Kevin Rohan Memorial Eco Foundation, Kathmandu, Nepal
We have been supporting women’s health check-ups camps, in partnership with KRMEF in Kathmandu, for the past two years, where doctors and nurses examined 300 women in remote areas in 2019. Two health camps, for a similar number of women, were planned for 2021 but have been postponed due to the current Covid 19 situation. We are instead currently conducting Covid Relief work with KRMEF and are hoping that the women can be checked later this year.
Introducing our new Projects and Partners
Hair-Dressing and Tailoring Project
Hawkers Market Girls Centre, Nairobi, Kenya
FrauenPower is very happy to partner with the Hawkers Market Girls Centre and its very dedicated founder Shariffa who has been empowering girls and young women for over 30 years in Nairobi and making sure that they have a better future. The recruitment process for the 40 girls, we will be supporting on a yearly basis, is currently ongoing; it has been disrupted by the numerous lockdowns in Kenya. 20 girls will be taught hair-dressing, and the remaining 20 tailoring skills, over a period of one year on a daily basis. The girls will also be taught other skills, such as housekeeping, computer, cooking, recycling and upcycling, saving, starting a business, hygiene and cleanliness, etc. It is hoped that this “multi-skill” training will allow the girls to find employment more easily.
YMCA National Training College, Nairobi, Kenya Girls during the hair-dressing training
FrauenPower has recently started sponsoring 40 girls/young women to attend a 9 month long hair-dressing training course at the YMCA College in Nairobi. These girls are all from difficult and impoverished backgrounds and would not be able to attend a certified course at a college otherwise. Hair and hair styles play an important role in women’s appearance in Kenya (as elsewhere) and people do spend a lot of time and money on having their hair done. It is hoped that the 3 month practical training and the placement after completion of the course will help these girls find employment, earn an income or become self-employed at some stage. The College usually trains unemployed people, those youngsters who never finished school or those with a difficult past. All 40 girls are also taking part in the social capital credit initiative where they will be doing social good and thereby earn credits that they can exchange for hair-related items. The training had been disrupted because of the recent lockdown in Kenya but has resumed again (as of 12th May).
Ending Period Poverty
FrauenPower e.V. has recently partnered with two organizations, Amani Kenya and Together for Better Foundation, to address period poverty, menstrual hygiene and health, and teenage pregnancies in Kenya. These are serious issues in the communities where we work and urgently need to be addressed. Research shows that approximately 65% of the girls and women in poor countries are unable to afford sanitary napkins/towels, or other products that can be used during their menstrual cycle (Mire, A. 2020, ‘I wish I was a boy’: The Kenyan girls fighting period poverty). This affects girls' school attendance (girls miss on average 4 days of school a month) and women’s ability to go out to work. Out of desperation, girls as young as 13 years of age are said to be exchanging sexual favours in return for sanitary products in rural areas (Gay, G., 2018, The Borgen Project. 5 facts about Period Poverty in Kenya). This has led to teenage pregnancies as there is no sex education or menstural hygine management taught at school or at home. According to the community based organisations we work with in Nairobi, during the 2020 lockdown, every third girl, between the ages of 14 and 18 years, became pregnant - partly rape cases but mainly because of “lack of sexual awareness” amongst these teenagers. The two organisations we have partnered with have been addressing some of these taboo topics for a while and are best suited to deal with these issues. We will also be teaching women how to make reusable sanitary napkins, providing them with the material required to produce them, distributing the finished napkins free of charge to girls and women who desperately need them, teaching teenagers about menstrual hygiene management, educating them about sexual violence and teenage pregnancies, and many other topics that matter to the teenagers. If you feel you can assist us in this “mammoth challenge”, in whatever way, please do get in touch.
Help us help others!
If you wish to donate to the women’s empowerment work we undertake, help end Period Poverty or help people survive the Covid-19 crisis, please donate to the following account (even a small amount is highly appreciated). When transferring the money, please state for what purpose you would like us to use the funds. Thank you very much for your generosity.
Account Name: FrauenPower e.V. Address: Gartenstr. 14, 76231 Aichtal-Aich, Germany Bank Name: GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG Address: 44774 Bochum, Germany Account Number: 704 828 9300 IBAN: DE87 4306 0967 7048 2893 00 (GLS Bank) BIC / SWIFT CODE: GENODEM1GLS BANK CODE: 430 609 67