International Women’s Day 2015 – #makeithappen

International Women’s Day 2015 is March 8

Theme: MAKE IT HAPPEN

makeithappen

All around the world, International Women’s Day represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality. (source)

It has been said that Dalit women are “thrice dalit.” They endure gender-based violence and discrimination, economic oppression through extreme poverty, and caste-based discrimination based on Dalit status. One of the basic principles of DFN’s work, as we covered in our recent #Dalit101 series, is economic empowerment, specifically women’s economic empowerment.

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Last month, a team from DFN visited several of our India schools and offices. We sat down with the director of our Self-Help and LAMP (Livelihood Augmentation Management Program) programs for nearly an hour listening to story after story of women being given new hope and changed futures by the simple, minor investment of seed money or a sewing machine and training. Most of these women know they have the potential for so much more and only need someone to:

a.) believe them, and;

b.) invest in them to get things going.

In short, they need someone to help #makeithappen for them as they continue to make things happen for their families and communities.

We also learned about past and present International Women’s Day celebrations happening all over India. These celebrations are planned to help educate, empower and generally celebrate Dalit women. This year, our amazing Indian partners have planned gatherings in strategic areas so the maximum number of women can attend.

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(photos from IWD gatherings in 2014)

International Women’s Day, for us,  is a day to say “Dalit women matter.” That they are of value and purpose… not for what they do or can provide others, but simply by being born. Our director of LAMP beamed as he told us the stories of seeing these women gather together, sharing their pain as well as standing together in hope for a better future for themselves and their children.

This month, in honor of International Women’s Day, there will be 8 event locations over 6 different days with an expected 3800 – 4000 women attending. This is extraordinary. We wish we could attend each and every gathering to encourage, support and elevate these women. And we commend our amazing Indian partners for creating the time, space and resources to celebrate Dalit women.

As Dr. Ambedkar has said,

I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.

Join us this month as we celebrate and support Dalit women. Help us #makeithappen for Dalit women.

Did you know it costs only $100 to free a woman from a life-cycle of abject poverty? With an investment of $100, a woman can receive the means and training to start her own business… whether that is selling buffalo milk, a fruit and veggie cart, grinding and selling chili powder, tailoring and sewing projects. It is such a minimal investment with an immeasurable return.

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