February 10, 2009

Improving Women’s Lives in Bosnia

I recently discovered a great organization working to alleviate women’s struggles around the world through education and micro loans.

This organization – Women for Women International - operates in eight countries including the Congo, Kosovo and Iraq. About a month ago I decided to sign up for their sponsorship program. This includes a small monthly financial commitment, which is used to support a ‘sister’ in a community where Women for Women work. It takes about a month for you to be matched with your sister, once matched you are able to correspond with her to see how she is and how she is using Women for Women’s support.

Last week I received information about my sister. She lives in Bosnia. I confess I don’t know much about Bosnia, despite being born and raised in Europe. I know about the war in ‘92, but I don’t know much about how the people are trying to rebuild their lives since the war that ripped their country apart. I was shocked to find out the following:

  • 50% of the schools in Bosnia were destroyed and have not been rebuilt
  • Landmines have made farming deadly
  • 45% of all women are unemployed – making them targets for human traffickers

These are just some of the issues Bosnian women are dealing with, but by using micro loans and education services provided by Women for Women, those that receive them are able to make a difference in theirs and their family’s lives. The women use the loans to educate themselves and start their own businesses, in everything from agriculture to jewelry making. It is working, with 88% of women saying that their self confidence has increased, and 91% better understand their rights.

This post was written by Katherine Osgood, Director of International Programs at United Planet. Katherine has her own blog focusing on women’s rights issues and is a volunteer blogger with Literacy 'n' Poverty Project.

No comments:

Post a Comment