Thursday, February 2, 2012

Let's go fishing!

There is an ancient Chinese saying, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime". Hence, the ESTC team went fishing!

In 2011, several ESTC grants were used to give new skills to vulnerable women. In this blog post, I'd like to tell you about two of these grants that were used to provide training for women so that they can generate income to feed themselves and their children.

Association of Huchuy Yachaq
The small community of Hermnos Ayar in Peru tells the stories of many women living day after day in privation. Lacking in education and social status, these women often find themselves victims of poverty, discrimination and domestic violence.

Using an ESTC grant of US$5,000, the association set up workshops to train these women in jewelry-making. The program does not just stop there. In the workshops, these women are also being taught essential business skills like: how to market their products, what is considered fair trade and how to manage their budget. Equipped with this know-how and expertise, the women in the small community of Hermanos Ayar are now able to stand tall, earn their own income and support their families financially.

Yoni, a mother of two, who has been participating in the jewelry workshops now proudly and confidently states that she is a "Jewelry Artesan". She can say this with a big smile and with assurance, as she knows that she is capable of producing beautiful silver jewlery.

Baan Saeng Tawan
On the other side of the globe in Thailand, there lies a similar tale of women's empowerment. Baan Saeng Tawan is a mission of the Bless Asia Foundation that has been setup to empower women who are involved in prostitution with the vocational skills and psycho-social foundation necessary to enable them to choose a better way of life. An ESTC grant of US$2,000 was provided to this project and was used to hire a vocational trainer who taught ten women sewing, hairdressing and card-making.

These women can now earn a living with their new skills. They feel empowered and hopeful to start new lives. The project has not only directly helped the women but it has also indirectly helped their children who will now benefit from their mothers' new careers.

Thank you to all our amazing ESTC hosts and supporters for making these grants possible.

~ Michelle and the ESTC Team

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