When women realise the power they have to change things, they are drivers in making that change happen.
Women like Azrah* from rural Pakistan. Azrah is 26 and lives with her four children. Looking after them and doing jobs around the house used to take up all of her time and energy. In the monsoon months, there was the added work of collecting cotton from the fields and grass for their cattle. There was little time to socialise and the work was challenging for her.
But then, one of Tearfund’s local partners in Pakistan invited Azrah to join a Women’s Empowerment Group (WEG), and from that, everything began to change.
A whole new world
Tearfund’s local partners are setting up WEG’s across Pakistan. These groups bring women together to learn, socialise and grow in confidence. They are instrumental in helping people to overcome poverty as they give women the tools needed to transform their own lives and the lives of those around them.
According to the World Bank, 80 per cent of people living in poverty in Pakistan are in rural areas. They are highly vulnerable to waterborne diseases, which claim the lives of 250,000 children each year.
At her WEG, Azrah was taught about vital hygiene and sanitation practises to protect her family against preventable diseases. She also learnt about disaster risk management – as Pakistan is a high risk country for natural disasters. This means she can keep herself and her family safe in emergencies, for example during cyclones and earthquakes. Azrah also learnt how to prevent child marriage and received teaching on her rights as as a woman.
She has discovered a purpose for herself, and now helps other women achieve their potential too.
From me to you
‘By attending trainings, I have started to believe in my own capabilities,’ Azrah says.
Our local partners have now appointed Azrah as an Area Officer. She supports women in around 16 villages who are part of WEG or other self-help groups. In one village, she worked with women to teach them advocacy skills. This led to the women applying for a grant from the local government, so that they could improve life in their community.
‘I aim to transform the lives of women in the villages I visit, so that they can live their life with liberty, and in the pursuit of happiness,’ Azrah concludes.
- Praise God for women like Azrah who want to use the skills they’ve been taught to empower other women to lift their families out of poverty.
- Pray that WEGs will continue to provide a safe space for marginalised women to meet together and learn vital skills. Pray that God will raise up strong women out of these groups.
- Pray against barriers that stop women from achieving their full potential. Pray for an end to child marriage.
*Name has been changed to protect identity.