Imagine if women had equal opportunities for success? Imagine if all women are empowered? Imagine if all women are set free from jails of cultures and traditions? Imagine if all women believed in themselves? This World would be a better place, but we have a long way to achieve this; the good news is it is achievable; exponential growth is seen when women are empowered.
Our shelter also offers case management, counseling, and support groups to young women who are not requesting shelter but still seeking pathways out of the commercial sex industry or continued support in their trauma recovery.
Today we launched the Elevate program for 18 young women in our community. These women are dynamic, industrious, young, innovative, and holding on to hope, but all are still stuck in the history of oppression. We locked our gates at our shelter for them to have a space to just be themselves, cared for their babies as they danced, and allowed them to dream for at least 3 hours without being coerced; the result was very moving. These few women opened up, cried, laughed, and most of all, we devised a plan! Together we will become a beautiful story. Elevate program will empower women with economic skills, Digital skills, Women’s rights, and how to be self-reliable.
Elevate program aims to improve women’s economic and health conditions. We work together to give them the skills they need to look after themselves, live independently, and work, while still benefitting from being part of a support group. In addition, the program will equip them with the knowledge and awareness to care for their physical and mental health and develop conversational skills such as nutrition awareness and looking after their own homes.
The program also set them on the road to finding a vocation and a job. Our team has developed excellent relationships with prominent local businesses which can offer training programs and, subsequently, jobs to these young women.
Stories of these women are painful; some are living in modern slavery; they came to the city in search of green pastures and ended up as domestic workers, “I came to work as a house girl in 2016, my employer husband started forcing me to sex, I had to accept so I could keep my job, later I felt so bad, and I decided to tell her wife, they kicked me out. I could not return to my village; the employer was there, and she told everybody that I was a husband snatcher, but nobody believed me. I have been in the city since then, I found a boyfriend who I have been living with, and I have two children, he says I am a burden with my children, he calls me all kinds of names and sometimes slaps me, but I don’t want to report or leave him because I don’t have anywhere to go. I am 24 years; this is not the life I dreamt of. I want to learn and start a small business selling chicken .”
Patriarchy accords men the right to institute practices and codes that, as a priority, beneﬁts them. The analysis must be made against the background of the male demand and “rights.” More women than men live in poverty. Women hardly have any money at their discretion; therefore totally dependent on their husbands or family members to fulfill their petty needs. Economic disparities persist partly because much of the unpaid work within families and communities falls on the shoulders of women and because they face discrimination in the economic sphere.