Bringing Hope to Families in the Developing World
Recently, CARE Canada called. “Would you like to support our program and for $32 buy a pair of chickens for a family in the developing world?” they asked. “Your donation will be matched 3 for 1 by the Canadian Government.”
Promptly, my $32 was on its way to CARE. It inspired me to spread the word about this initiative, and at the same time crystallized what had been on my mind for months. So, welcome to this blog, where I’m excited to give a greater voice to those who are working to find or implement solutions to our planet’s problems.
Here’s the scoop on CARE Canada’s chickens program, which turns out to be the first step of a much larger and more complex international humanitarian effort.
When people pay for chickens through phone queries or the CAREgift catalogue, the money supports programs such as the Kabul Humanitarian Assistance for Widows program in Afghanistan, Kieran Green of CARE Canada explained. Afghan widows have little means of income to support their family. The chickens provide the widows with eggs to feed their family, and then eggs and young chickens that they can sell to other people in their village. And that’s a huge step, which takes care of the basic needs of life for the women and their families.
Then, implementing a humanitarian Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs program, CARE continues working with the women. Once feeding themselves and their family is eased in the widows’ minds, CARE provides vocational training in a commercially valuable skill such as cell phone repair, commercial baking or sewing, all of which are in demand in the Afghan jobs marketplace. Once trained, the women get CARE’s help in either starting a business or getting a job. So when you buy a pair of chickens, you “empower the women to start moving from vulnerability to independence”, Green reports.
Waves of economic and social benefits ripple from the widows into their villages. Eventually, villagers can support programs such as CARE’s Village Savings and Loans, a microfinance group.
The Kabul Widows program is currently working with approximately 1,800 Afghan widows. Since the CAREgift catalogue was launched in December 2008, supporters have purchased 420 pairs of chickens through the catalogue.
A slight correction over the original posting is needed here. CIDA matches the chicken funds three to one, and the vocational training funds one to one, so your donation is multiplied and does more good than if it was standalone. If you’d like to help, you can pay for chickens through the CAREgifts Livelihoods page on their website. If you’d like to support a vocational training program for 2,000 Afghan women, check out CARE Canada’s Afghanistan Challenge where CARE displays its interlinking attitude by partnering with Rotary International, MEDA, WUSC and the Canadian Government.
In future posts, I’ll look at some other solutions, as well as ways that we can all make a difference. I look forward to discovering where this blog goes, and welcome you to join me on the journey.