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MARCH 8TH 2017
EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN

There are inspiring women and mothers all around us, coping with life’s daily issues, the delights and stresses of children, the enjoyments and pressures of work. We are fortunate to know three particularly inspiring women who have taken bold steps to follow their dreams and stick to their principles.

Discover their stories here.

SAVING LIVES WITH SAFE WATER

Katie is founder and CEO of the charity FRANK water, based on a dream to fund safe water Katie set about establishing the charity. With little experience of development herself Katie didn’t allow this to hold her back and by employing the help of a professional team of experts, along with her drive and determination, Katie and her team have raised funds and installed multiple safe water systems across rural parts of India, improving and saving lives of families in rural communities. Katie recently visited some of these villages to discuss the crucial next stage of her work, accompanying her on the trip was her daughter, Amelia.

“In over three weeks, my daughter Amelia and I visited no fewer than 20 communities across four different states of India. We met with dozens of people on our journey hearing their many stories.”

A common thread of each of their visits to these communities was the difference and impact safe water has in particular, on the lives of women and children. Katie spoke with Parvati, a woman she met on her visit to the Bhaiga community.

“In 2014 the Bhaiga community had no safe source of drinking water. Water was precious and people would often drink soapy or dirty water because it was so hard to come by. As a consequence they were often sick. Parvati is a mother to three girls and a member of the village committee that we helped set up when mapping the village needs. On the day of our visit, Parvati and her family proudly led us to one of the hand pumps, in the village centre. The pump draws the ground water which is safe to drink. It’s monitored and maintained by members of the community water committee. Without the newly installed hand pumps many women had spent much of their time collecting water, and doing house hold chores and looking after the youngest children that food and income generation was left solely to the men and the girls had no time to go to school.”

In some cases village members were having to walk up 7km as a round trip to get a bucket of water.

Nearing the end of their trip Katie and her daughter Amelia were seated around the camp fire sharing the stories they had heard over the last few weeks of journey.

“In discussing the complexity and requirements of community development I said, without thinking of the gender preference inferred ‘it needs more man power’ and my daughter Amelia piped up, with an unusually defiant voice ‘I think more woman power would be even better Mum’. My quiet, resilient companion, had been at my side, taking it all in and processing the sights and experiences in her own space and time. She’d seen with her own eyes, evidence that women, given the opportunity, can not only take control of their own future, but transform the lives of their family and community”.

Find out more about FRANK water: http://www.frankwater.com/donate

EMPOWERING WOMEN
IN THE WORKPLACE

Poonkubi is a mother and a potter. She works as part of a fair trade project in southern India. The scheme was established with particular focus on empowering women in the work place and Poonkubi successfully manages to juggle work, creating the beautiful Mali ceramics we sell, and raise her own large family.

“My idol is my mother because she has taught me how to manage a large family”.

Her inspiration has been her own mother, and the family ties are strong. The fair trade scheme she works with provides an education for Poonkubi’s children which gives her the freedom to develop her skills as a potter and work alongside her husband to support their family.

HARDWORK AND FAITH

The memory of the Tsunami still casts a desolate shadow, the tragedy that enfolded and the impact of one of the world’s most devastating events drove a young woman called Joy to jump on a plane and head to Sri Lanka, to offer any help she could to those in need. Over 10 years later Joy is still living in Sri Lanka.

In the aftermath of the Tsunami Joy found a piece of land and with the support and funding of the Manacare Foundation, set about building the Village of Hopes and Dreams; a small community that could care for many of the children orphaned after the Tsunami.

When I asked Joy what it was that made her so committed and focussed on helping others, her response was her faith.

“Faith is a creative power, it encompasses visualisation, determination and positive thinking, and the ultimate belief that the ending of all pain, destruction and mutilation of all those that suffer on our earth is a possibility. But such faith comes from within and the true deep feeling of love, a love that transcends all boundaries, and the desperate need never to see suffering, and certainly to help those that do or are suffering.”

The village has grown and Joy’s love and determination along with that of the volunteers who work with her, ensure the Village of Hopes and Dreams continues to care for those who need shelter and ultimately a home.

For information on the Village of Hopes and Dreams visit: http://www.manacare.org.uk/ongoing-projects/sri-lanka-2/