When we asked Tearfund’s Becca Brierley to help us celebrate International Women’s Day (next Tuesday) with a story of a woman who inspires her, she came up with a corker. Becca works for Tearfund organising a UK-government funded overseas volunteering programme for 18 to 25-year-olds, called the International Citizen Service (ICS):
‘The woman who inspires me is a 22-year-old student from Gloucestershire called Ruth Cracknell – (seen with me, above right)
‘Ruth volunteered with us through the ICS programme and spent 12 weeks in Bolivia working in a women’s prison. She was supporting children of women in the prison, some of whom were born there.
‘But by the end of her time there, the funding for her ICS project was cut. When she came home, Ruth decided this wasn't right and rallied her team to raise £15,000 to keep the children in the programme for another year.
‘Ruth inspires me because first and foremost she was brave enough to go and see what global poverty looks like with her own eyes. Because of her sense of injustice, she took it upon herself to address a need and a problem.
‘She also inspires me because she understands the concept of sisterhood, and that, as women, we must stick together. Ruth saw these women in prison as her sisters and recognised she had a duty as a woman herself to come alongside them. She also recognised she had a duty to come back home and tell people about that injustice and get help as needed.
‘Ruth has affected me personally because she has shown the amount of impact the actions of one person alone can have. Through fundraising, she’s involved her team, her church, her community. She’s been in the press and shouted loudly about this injustice and the need that exists. She’s become quite the advocate for these Bolivian children.
‘Ruth’s made me hopeful that a generation of young people in this country care deeply about issues that matter, about global poverty. She’s made me feel proud to be part of this organisation, and to play this role engaging with these young people who return from Tearfund partners and want to live differently because of it.’
- Give thanks for women like Ruth who are challenging injustice, living differently and inspiring others.
- Give thanks for the social, cultural and political achievements of women and pray for greater gender equality around the world.