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An answer to prayer for ten thousand women

More than 10,000 women's lives have been transformed in the Central African Republic, thanks to generous supporters who gave to Tearfund’s matched giving appeal.

Written by Diane Igirimbabazi | 11 Jun 2021

Credit: Tearfund

In the Central African Republic (CAR), 75 per cent of women are unable to read and write. This makes it hard for them to find work and be taken seriously in their communities. But your prayers and support have made it possible for thousands of women to be empowered, changing not only their lives but also the communities around them.

In 2017, Tearfund launched an appeal for CAR, and the UK government committed to match the amount raised. Here are some of the incredible stories of lives changed as a result of your generosity.

Therese’s story

Therese lives in Bangui with her children and two grandchildren. She lost her husband ten years ago, and since then has not had enough money for the everyday essentials.

‘I really struggled, we did not have enough,’ says Therese. ‘I was too old and did not have an education or any other skills to apply for a job.’

But things were about to change for Therese and other women in her community.

Tearfund set up self-help groups, where women can discuss their needs and work together on solutions. Therese joined with 24 women from her neighbourhood and received training in business skills and practical help to start a business.

Our local partners are also teaching women how to read, write and count so they can successfully run their businesses and earn an income.

‘I started really small, but with encouragement from my family and the savings group, I was able to keep going,’ says Therese.

‘I really thank God. With the profit I get, I am able to take care of my family. What I am most proud of is that I have a plan. I know where I am going. I keep all my business records in my notebook, I can count my profits, I can see what works and what does not, and plan accordingly. I feel like a real businesswoman!’

Therese with the items she sells in her new shop.

Jerine’s story

In CAR, sexual and gender-based violence is a huge problem for women. If we want to empower women and enable them to reach their God-given potential, then we need to challenge the harmful gender norms that are often the root cause of the violence.

Tearfund is equipping community and church leaders to do this. Members of the community are being trained to become ‘gender champions’. Their role is to encourage conversations in the community on gender equality and promote positive behaviour change. Before this began in her community, Jerine was frustrated and felt that she had no voice in her home.

‘My husband had no good words for me. He definitely had no respect for me, and I did not trust him,’ shares Jerine. ‘There was no respect or love in our family.’

But Jerine’s village now has two gender champions and she has seen the amazing benefits in her own life.

‘Many conflicts have been solved because of them. Being able to listen to what my husband had to say and him taking the time to really hear me was the start of a new relationship,’ says Jerine. ‘I am very happy that my son is more respectful too, and I hope that he will grow to respect women and value their rights.’

Jerine's marriage and family life has improved since the introduction of 'gender champions' in her community. 

Faith for the future

For every woman that is empowered, a community is also transformed. That’s why Tearfund is committed to supporting women like Therese and Jerine.

‘I believe that empowered women can build strong communities,’ says Gilbert Kenei, who leads Tearfund’s work in CAR. ‘When they have access to employment, skills and knowledge, they can exercise their rights in their household and community. When they can contribute to the family income, this changes the power dynamic within their household. They can also invest in the education of their daughters, empowering the next generation.’

These are only a few of the incredible stories of transformation made possible by people like you, who prayed and generously donated to support this vital work. You have enabled more than 10,000 women in CAR to begin breaking the cycle of poverty that has kept them trapped and to create a better future for their families. Thank you.

Pray with us

    • Praise God for the generosity of our supporters that helped to empower thousands of women in CAR.
    • Thank God for the small businesses that Therese and other women have started. Pray that they will continue to thrive.
    • Pray that women around the world will be respected and valued by those around them, and that negative and harmful attitudes towards women will continue to be challenged and overcome.

Written by

Written by  Diane Igirimbabazi

Diane Igirimbabazi is Tearfund’s Regional Communication Officer for East and Central Africa.

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