A Wesleyan neighbor, Renata Bertotti, volunteers for a non-profit called SowHope (“Sharing Opportunities with Women”). Renata wrote to ENGAGE to ask us to share this information and invite students to learn about SowHope and support their mission.
We live in a world where roughly half the population, about 2.8 billion people, live on less than $2 a day. This situation reflects abject poverty, hunger, and unsafe living conditions. All of these descriptors have a pronounced effect on women due to gender inequality.
Research statistics identify that women are much more likely than men under the same circumstances to take an opportunity for improvement offered them and capitalize on it for the benefit of their families. When women have a voice and an income the benefits extend to their children, their family and their community. Societies at large benefit when basic opportunities are compassionately provided to women who live in desperate conditions.
Mary Dailey Brown, SowHope Founder and President, sensed an unshakeable burden to do something to help these women around the world. SowHope was founded after she realized that there were very few organizations focused on helping women exclusively and none that offered a broad enough scope of services to effectively change lives on a massive scale.
The mission of SowHope is to inspire women around the world by promoting wellness, education, and economic opportunities. This is done by partnering with local leaders solving local problems using local solutions. SowHope believes that the answer to solving problems lies with competent and passionate community leaders who are able to recognize concerns, problems, and the corresponding solutions specific to their own society and culture. These partners are invited to submit projects specifically addressing wellness, education, or economic opportunities for impoverished women in their area.
- Wellness: Includes programs to serve the physical and emotional needs of women whose health is at risk or who have been abused or traumatized. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, SowHope funded an association of women to better equip a birthing center they built.
- Education: Encompasses programs that teach literacy and offer vocational and technical training. SowHope funded a literacy and vocational training for AIDS victims in Rwanda that placed vulnerable young women in a supportive group and taught them to sew, to read, write, and do math at a basic level.
- Economic: Focuses on micro-loans and small business training programs. SowHope provided seed money for a microloan group in Uganda that has funded microloans for over 170 women. These microloan groups operate with a 100% pay-back rate and are sustainable.
SowHope currently has projects through partners in 9 countries: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Nigeria, and Kenya. We have planned an exploratory trip to South Sudan to meet with a potential new partner.
There are several ways you can get involved:
- Stay Informed: The work of SowHope is strengthened by the number of people who keep connected and develop awareness of the various issues and needs facing these women and their communities. Visit sowhope.org and click on “sign up” to receive our e-communications.
- Get Social: SowHope has active Facebook and Twitter accounts. “Like” and “Follow” us to show your support and “Like”, “Favorite”, “Share” and “ReTweet” our posts to let others know this cause is important to you.
- Fundraise: Think of a creative way to raise money that will help fund the wellness, education, and economic projects. We had one supporter run a ½ marathon and she collected pledges per mile in support of women who live on less than $2 a day. She ended up getting more than 5x the goal she set!
- Host a Documentary Viewing: SowHope has a 30-minute documentary that explores the struggles and triumphs of women in the Developing World and the transformational effect of hope. You can watch the trailer by visiting sowhope.org. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if this is something in which you are interested.
Be a change-maker. Join us in this journey.
“Where there is despair, let me sow hope.” –Francis of Assisi