One of the many things I have learned from doing the Peace Through Pieces Ministry is that in Burundi (and I suspect this occurs worldwide) when you improve the life of a woman, you improve the life of a whole village.
Here is a story I was told:
Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services, the group I work with in Burundi, has been forming women’s self-help groups using the model from Kindernothilfe, a German organization dedicated to improving the lives of children worldwide.
The self-help group members each pay a small dues every time they meet—maybe the equivalent of a few cents. When the group has collected the equivalent of a few dollars, the group chooses a member to loan the money to for a specified period of time. One woman received a loan of approximately two dollars value.
She used the money to buy up all the excess beans from her neighbors’ gardens for a week and took them to a nearby market. She sold them for about the equivalent of four dollars. Now she was able to pay back the loan and with the remaining money she was able to repeat the process, buying up her neighbors excess produce and selling it at the market. She continued to do this and had a steady income of an extra approximately two dollars per week (the equivalent of a day’s wages in that part of the country).
Well, a person can do a lot with an extra day’s wages each week so they asked her how this extra money has changed her life—what is she doing with it? She replied that she has taken in two orphans and now she can feed and educate them.
When you improve the life of a woman, you improve the life of a whole village.
Contributed by Patty Federighi, North Seattle Friends