At my current position at Anera, I have been fortunate enough to put my training from academia into applied practice. This summer, I visited one of our women’s economic empowerment projects in Qalqilya, Palestine, a project that was the result of one of the first successful grant applications that I had submitted with Anera.
Here is a snippet of a much longer post I wrote for Anera’s blog. If you are inspired by what you read, please consider a monthly donation, however large or small, to Anera.
Recently, I was fortunate to take my first visit to Anera’s country offices in Lebanon and Palestine. In my previous life in academia, my research related to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Finally seeing the places I had written about moved me in ways I could not have predicted.
While in Palestine, I traveled through much of the West Bank. My country office colleagues narrated the way, telling me about their homeland.
One of the most beautiful places we visited was the city of Qalqilya. Picture a sub-tropical Los Angeles surrounded by farms, with beautiful sandstone buildings and streets lined with palm trees and bougainvillea. Qalqilya is situated in the West Bank, near the 1949 Armistice border with Israel. It is a vibrant city, full of fresh fruits and vegetables. The climate there is perfect for growing everything.
We went to Qalqilya to visit one of the training sessions for Anera’s Women Can program, generously funded by Islamic Relief USA. The goal of Women Can is to give women a means to earn their own income.
Anera identified 100 women who are heads of household and who have an idea for a small business that will help them support themselves and their families. Most of these women had little or no income, yet they shouldered the heavy responsibility of being the primary breadwinner for their families. Some of them are divorced or widowed. Others have spouses with chronic health problems. All of these women support at least five children or other dependents.
Some women already have a business but need assistance to be able to scale it up. Others are starting from scratch. The businesses are based on the local market and the interests and skills of each woman.
Anera provides marketing and business classes to the women, mentoring and training in their particular areas of interest, and a start-up grant to buy the equipment they need to pursue their plans. For example, we might purchase a sewing machine, kitchen appliances, or a professional-quality camera — the tools essential to each woman’s small venture.
Holly, many people express a desire to make the world a better place; to positively affect other’s lives. Few ever achieve this goal to any great extent, other than among friends, neighbors or those in their immediate surroundings. You have and, I believe, will continue to do this in the most far reaches of the third world and beyond throughout your lifetime. Some people don’t believe in fate, I do. Your life experiences, education, and family heritage has put you, and will put you in positions to make real positive differences in the world. You know I am proud of you, but also in awe of you as well. You have reached a very high milieu in which to perform great things, and you do.
I love you Honey,
*…* When the *people find* that *they can vote themselves money*, that *will herald* the *end* of the *republic*. *…* *Benjamin Franklin*
“;The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” …Patrick Henry
*—*”You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”*…Abraham Lincoln*
“THE TRUTH MAY BE STRETCHED THIN, BUT IT NEVER BREAKS, AND IT ALWAYS SURFACES ABOVE LIES, AS OIL FLOATS ON WATER.”