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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

IR USA commemorates International Women's Day

Among Islamic Relief programs that help women are water-assistance efforts that relieve women from the burden of collecting and carrying water from far-away wells each day, freeing them to instead pursue income-generating work. Photo by Mohammad Mertaban (© Islamic Relief USA)

In honor of International Women’s Day March 8, Islamic Relief is marking the day by sharing the work we do all year to help women around the world improve their lives.

Islamic Relief’s education projects, water and sanitation initiatives, and livelihood improvement programs target women in some of the most marginalized and neglected communities. From China to the United States, Islamic Relief USA’s projects mobilize, educate and empower women to be leaders in the development of their societies.

One of Islamic Relief’s newest programs, which began last year, will educate 900 women in central Afghanistan, helping them become literate by mid-2012. In the Bamyan province, where this effort is focused, less than one-quarter of the population is literate. The project is helping give the gift of literacy to women through a home-based program that is also helping them learn how to start businesses.

Another program in Afghanistan is providing modern looms to women who have long worked rugs using old-fashioned looms that left them with chronic back pain. The new looms alleviate women’s discomfort as they do work that allows them to earn money to improve their own lives and that of their families.

In other countries including Yemen and China, Islamic Relief projects are improving access to sanitary water. This improves hygiene and health for all residents of the area, but in even more ways, it benefits girls and women, who often are the ones who fetch the water. The time-consuming, difficult and sometimes dangerous task of collecting water and carrying it long distances forces many girls to skip or leave school and prevents women from doing work to earn money. In the Al Farsha region of Yemen, where a water project is taking place in 20 villages, three-quarters of women are illiterate. The water project has allowed more girls to stay in school and freed up time for more women to pursue income-generating work. These water projects have benefited thousands and continue to help more people each day.

Islamic Relief is also helping women here in the United States. In 2009-2010, Islamic Relief has supported two Baltimore women’s shelters as well as a program fighting domestic violence in Indiana, to aid those who need a guiding hand as they get back on their feet in the wake of personal challenges.

As Islamic Relief continues these and other projects around the world, every day is women’s day.

For more information about Islamic Relief’s work, please visit our “What We Do” page.

Support Islamic Relief’s work, donate today.
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