We should help girls and disabled children to go to school. We shouldn't limit the responsibility of the women only at home, and that the girl doesn't lose anything by not going to school. Disabled children, including mental and physical, must also be enrolled and included in the social environment; we must approach them, support them, and make them understand that society needs them. We have to make sure that the best investment we make is on children, whether boy or girl.
Even dough that I live in the first world country I see people with little or no education. I am a preschool teacher and I am working in the program of Head Start. Also I was in India and I know to fight the poverty is given education to the people.
I,m Shirkey Somono, VSO volunteer in Ghana, West Africa. I was assigned to build the capacity of Farmers Based Organization especially the women. I trained them on various aspects from sustainable agriculture to financial management, savings mobilization and credit management, livelihood enhancement like soap making and pomademaking and soya beans processing and the promotion of local innovations.
A volunteer is not a miracle worker but a catalyst for change that will motivate the community to work on their own to improve their lives without sacrificing our environment/nature.
I feel ashamed while people around the globe sitting around can eat more than three times but hardworking Ghanaians can't even eat two times a day. They were force to sell charcoal because the government doesn't have any livelihood alternatives for them and those working in the NGO's were the one buying their stuff. When are we going to learn?
As a teacher, I'm a member of the Cameroon Teachers' Trade Union (CATTU), with headquarters in Bamenda, Cameroon. Our Trade Union has been involved in numerous volunteer actions around the country to foster education as a means of sustainable development. We work to ameliorate the working conditions of teachers and learning conditions of students. We especially have in mind the future of our planet and so are focused on the effective education of the leaders of tomorrow. Our vision is a better future for all through effective and global education with particular emphasis on sustainable development and human peace and progress.
I will focus on the most recent volunteer action that we realized. In a village in the Wum area of the Menchum Division in the North West Region of the Republic of Cameroon, pupils of the local primary school learnt under deplorable conditions. They were at the mercy of the elements. There were no buildings but makeshift structures consisting of palm leaves and poles driven into the ground. We went into action by organizing the locals to contribute funds that were used to buy roofing sheets, wood, nails and other building materials. We molded bricks with earth from the area. Now the school has a building with two classrooms in which students learn and teachers teach in ameliorated conditions. This is the sort of volunteer action that makes life better for the less priviledged and makes the world a better place for all.
Woven History Empowering Women in Guatemala
by Terese Maineri de Velasquez
Rural Youth at Risk Volunteer, Peace Corps Guatemala 2003 to 2005
Clark Universitiy, Master’s of Arts in International Development and Social Change 2002
Indigenous women in Guatemala have long bared the burden of discrimination, violence and lack of access to education. Opportunities for financial success become attainable for indigenous women in Santiago Sacatepequez, Guatemala when they have access to micro-credit loans provided by a local non-profit organization called Asocian Fémina en el Desarrollo en Sacatepéquez (AFEDES). With participants’ determination and the help of the International Development Exchange (IDEX), AFEDES expands the sell traditional wears.
“Guatenicanole,” this is how I pronounced Guatemala when I was seven, unsure how to tackle the word when first seeing it written in front of a display of artisan crafts for sale in 1986. At the time, my view of the world did not stretch beyond the confines of my household. I knew little of that country in the middle of a civil war, which ended ten years later. I was attracted to the colorful display. A nun from my hometown who worked in Guatemala had brought a variety of handicrafts to sell as a fundraiser to profit families struggling to provide for their children. During the war, venturing to the market to sell goods for a merger profit was dangerous, since violence was common and undiscerning. The sellers of the items in front of me were fortunate to have a connection outside of their usual market.
The handicrafts for sale intrigued me. I bought a detailed painting of a woman in indigenous clothing. She was wearing a multicolored shirt, a blue skirt and carrying water in a jar on her head. Her attire was different from anything I have seen before. It was painted on a piece of cardboard the size of a baseball card. At age seven, I understood little how my purchase would assist its maker. I knew nothing of the country, its inhabitants’ resilience and enterprising spirit.
Looking at the painting now, I could tell you that the women depicted in it is standing in front of Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, but due to the design and color of her traditional clothing, she is from a town twenty minutes away called Sololá. As a child I adored the painting, but I did not understand the subject matter until traveling to Guatemala with the Peace Corps to work with indigenous women trying to better their economic standing through business ownership in the town of Santiago Sacatepéquez.
From 2003 to 2005, I served as a Rural Youth at Risk Volunteer with the Asocian Fémina en el Desarrollo en Sacatepéquez (AFEDES), which is a micro-credit organization founded in 1993 by a group of Mayan Cak’chiquel women seeking to improve their economic situation. The agency evolved from an existing agricultural credit organization called Cuatro Pinos. Like the Grameen Bank, AFEDES evolved as a way of assisting impoverished women through small loans to stimulate enterprise. As a Graduate of Clark University’s, Masters of Art’s in International Development and Social Change, I had mixed feelings regarding micro-finance. I felt that while micro-finance allowed individuals who could not attain credit elsewhere the ability to borrow money to begin their own businesses, it also forced debt on already impoverished families.
During my first year with AFEDES, the organization gave loans to twenty-six women’s groups totaling eight hundred and fifty members. Each member used her money as she desired to begin agricultural, livestock, weaving and sewing projects. The women’s groups met monthly to pay back installments of their loans and receive training to help make their businesses stronger. For many of the women, participation in the groups offered an escape from the difficulties in their lives and gave them hope for how to provide for their family. While the civil war ended in 1996, gang violence in Guatemala has continued plague business growth. Women chose projects that they could accomplish from the safety of their home.
In 2005, AFEDES decided to promote their participants’ greatest asset, the creation and sale of traje. Traje is a traditional woven outfit worn by Mayan women. Indigenous women have been weaving them for hundreds of years. When the Spaniards arrived, they were amazed by the brightly colored dress of the Mayans. The Traje consists of a guipil, a traditional embroidered blouse and a corte, an ankle length woven skirts worn wrapped around ones waist and fastened with a faja or embroidered belt. The guipil is an individual work of art which, whether woven or embroidered, it takes months to complete. Distinguished by its design, style, pattern and concept, the style of the guipil varies according to region and individual creativity or taste. The corte, which is woven on a treadle or foot loom, is composed of about five yards of material that is wrapped several times around a woman's lower body. It also differs by region in construction, design and colors (Nim Po’t, Centro de Textiles Tradicionales, Antigua, Guatemala, 2003).
With the help of the International Development Exchange (IDEX), AFEDES received money to start a traje initiative. AFEDES coordinated 14 training workshops on how to adapt conventional patterns of blouses, skirts and handbags into new styles that are more marketable to contemporary indigenous women and for the international export market. A total of 32 women, including seamstresses, weavers and embroiderers, participated in these workshop sessions. Forty women completed training in Santiago Sacatepequez and the accompanying village of Santa Maria Cauqué. Help Guatemala Women Launch a Clothing Business (IDEX, December 2006 Progress Report).
AFEDES started a series of workshops to teach foot loom weaving to women who did not previously have knowledge of the skill because it was traditional done by men. Foot loom weaving is less time consuming allowing higher profits for the participants. The trainings evolved from the interest of women from Santiago Sacatepéquez who expressed a high level of desire to participate in the new design trainings, but lacked weaving skills. AFEDES did not want these enthusiastic women to miss out on an entrepreneurial opportunity. They recruited skilled weavers in the community to facilitate a series of workshops for these novice weavers. Help Guatemala Women Launch a Clothing Business (IDEX, December 2006 Progress Report).
AFEDES featured the sale the traje their members produced in a store the organization opened in 2005 called TUPUEDES, or “you can” in English. The store sold raw materials, such as thread, to weavers at cost and featured finished guipiles and cortes for sale at fair trade price. Traditional wear has long been a closed market, with sell of goods evolving amongst neighbors. Since each region had its own style and design, trajes were traditionally not sold outside the territories in with they were made. With the expansion of indigenous pride, indigenous women have begun experimenting in wearing the trajes they liked from other areas of Guatemala. Due to the growing interest in buying trajes from other regions, AFEDES used part of the grant given by IDEX to train members how to produce outfits from various regions of Guatemala to sell at TUPUEDES. Receiving the training on how to produce clothing not easily found, but valued in Sacatepequez allowed member a distinctive advantage in their expanding market.
Looking back on my experience in Guatemala, I have come to the conclusion that poverty can be changed through enterprise by giving women the opportunity to determine their own futures. My former ideas about micro-finance lending leading to debt have changed. IDEX’s grant made it possible for AFEDES to display its participants’ work and teach them how to develop new fashions that were easier to produce and yield more earnings for their makers in their community.
While Traje is indicative to the indigenous culture in Guatemala, it remains a profitable business venture for members of AFEDES who choose to continue the tradition, while adapting styles to meet contemporary market needs. In 2006 AFEDES grew, giving loans thirty-one women’s groups totaling thousand members. Women who have taken loans with the organization have gained additional knowledge in business management and have not only paid back their loan, but provided a profit to supplement their families income. Additional income earned, have been used to finance the education of their children.
Now that I have returned to the United States, I am always excited to see American women wearing purses made from Guatemalan trajes in Connecticut. While visiting my son’s Magnet school for the first time, I saw embroidered wallets from Guatemala decorating his soon-to-be music room. When visiting my sister in Astoria Queens, NY, I found quilts made from used guipiles for sale in a local boutique. Many of the owners or sellers of these goods probably do not know the origins of the products they display; rather, much like the painting I bought when I was seven, they were attracted by the object’s color and unique presentation. The story of the maker and understanding of the objects’ original use is often lost. The women making these objects continue to benefit and their traditions are being conveyed far beyond their country to a new market. My goal is to share AFEDES’s story of success despite the challenges of violence, discrimination and lack of access to education facing indigenous women in Guatemala.
There's a need for improving education and livelihoods in the native countries (like Africa) for better conditions of their life. Teaching and training them for jobs encourage them for meaningful life, where they can experiment "give and take" process, sharing assets.
With education, people will start to avoid robbery and stealing means and concern their interest in working and striving to continue their living as cultivating the soil and planting rice... .
My name is CHIDINMA ANOSIKE FROM NIGERIA.
I want to say that I am greatful to God Almighty who inspired me to be a volunteer there by using my skills to assist humanity.I participated in Educating people on Electoral matters on how to participate in voting during elections. Ordinarily a lot of people would not have participated in the Nigeria General Election last year but for the volunteers who gave their time and skill to teach them on how and need to be involved in election matters and serve during the election.
Volunteer work is challenging, but it gives me joy and fulfilment when I contribute to people's enhancement and help them to achieve greatness. Am happy being a volunteer and am ever ready and willing to serve.
Je suis un formateur de secouriste, Je suis coordonateur d'une association surnomme, (AFAJ) se qui signifie, Association pour Former aider les Jeunes. L'AFAJ est travaille de collaboration avec une autre association qu'on a connu sous le nom "COEUR". Nous avons beaucoup projet pour l'ete, Donner une formation sur la sante de la reproduction, sur les IST et sur la Planification familialle. et montrer les jeunes de donner les premiers soins de Secours.
I am Manikandan N.B from India. I would like to than UN for giving this opportunity to make visible these valuable inputs from all of UN volunteers from across the globe to the peoples of the citizen of the WORLD. In my point of view a country will become more powerful when there is no poverty and illiterate. Education makes a man perfect. In my life I am helping to school and collage student to pay their term fees and stationary expenses for a best student from a poor family . I usually leave this option to my teacher Mr O.R. Kannan who was my class teacher during my 10th standard. I request him to select a poor and class topper student in order to pay his term fees. once I get the names I pay the fees for the year or for the semester in case of collage student. On my birthdays I usually arrange a lunch for the poor peoples those are living in my locality. When a country is having more literates that country will be richest. I had been in west africa for 1 year 6 months during my assignment with a telecom giant. I was really sad during my stay over there. because the people are living in such a situation where there is no water drink no good roads , transportation, electricity and no good schools even. I always help such peoples in my life.
Thank & Regards
Each of us must give something back to society - to this end, I let involve myself on a voluntary basis for the attainment of ‘Digital Bangladesh’ by 2021 for two years at CSDC (Campus Social Development Center), a knowledge based national Organization; as a teacher and counselor in assisting and upgrading the position of destitute people. It may be mentioned here that during my two years volunteer service in CSDC, I have been awarded with ‘Digital youngster’ from Bangladesh Government, and ‘Sangrami Nari’ (Woman warrior). Worked for autistics to help in education in 'Proshikha Shikshalay'. Served women by counseling and helding seminar in 'Provat Alo' a social welfare organization. I was volunteer in high school level to serve natural disaster people. In 2008 I did campaign for flood affected people in rural area 'Jhauchor'. During this time I saw the sufferings of the people. In natural disaster if people get a little bit help it seem to them a lot.