This Valentine’s Day, please consider helping some big-hearted women whose programs support other women!
We want to highlight the wonderful work done by four remarkable women who run some of the programs we assist that provide needed services to local women in India, Peru, Kenya, and Nepal.
Sirjana Institute (India)
The young women of this community in Varanasi, India, have few options in life other than to get married at a young age and begin having children. The kind-hearted Kalpana Sharma, an older woman with grown children, saw a way to help. Through free vocational trainings, The Sirjana Institute offers these young women some hope and a way out of extreme poverty. The graduates of the Institute (like the young woman in the photo) are given assistance to find jobs in their learned trades of sewing, beauty salon services, and jewelry making. It is always a struggle, but Kalpana hopes to continue to fund her vocational workshops which allow young women to take care of themselves and their families.
Hogar de la Esperanza, Mama Victoria (Peru)
Founded in 2007 by Nelly Villegas, a remarkable woman who lifted herself out of poverty, Hogar de Esperanza (or “House of Hope”) is a shelter and refuge for women escaping domestic violence with their children. Nelly frequently draws on her own savings in order to fill emergency needs, such as hospital bills for the women who show up at her door. Here women are given safe housing while their children (pictured) are provided with after-school education to make up for disruptions in their schooling. Income is brought in o the program through production and sales of gourmet chocolates, tamales, and painted pottery. Nelly is always looking for opportunities to create additional workshops to give the women more vocational opportunities and support.
The Nest (Kenya)
The Nest Baby Village and Children’s Home was founded in 1997 by a caring woman from Germany, Irene Baumgartner who was seeking to help children. In Kenya, when mothers are arrested, typically for petty crimes, the children can be left without care. Fortunately, the children can stay at the Nest until their mothers are released and can be reunited with their children. Mothers and their children (one pictured above) are allowed to stay at the halfway house and, with the help of social workers, are given assistance and rehabilitation to get back on their feet. Irene often needs help with the unexpected costs such as hospital visits and treatment for the children who come to stay at The Nest.
One Heart Worldwide (Nepal)
One Heart Worldwide (OHW) does life-saving work with newborns and pregnant women in the most remote villages of Nepal (the photo is from their program). Led by the unstoppable Arlene Samen, a nurse practitioner specializing in maternal and fetal care, she has been building birthing centers and training birth attendants to assist some of the most impoverished women in the world. Before her intervention, the maternal and infant death rates were 10 to 20 times the global average. Today, OHW continues to have an over 90% success rate on reducing infant and maternal mortality. Since the recent earthquakes, Arlene has been seeking help to rebuild the damaged birthing centers while continuing to provide birth attendant and midwife trainings.