On this year’s International Women’s Day, we are reflecting on some of the amazing women that make our programmes happen around the world, by asking our team in the UK who inspires them and why.
This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias, and it asks us to imagine a gender equal world, a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
Children on the Edge envisions a world in which every child thrives regardless of their geography, ethnicity, gender, or caste. So we’d like to introduce some of the women that most inspire us, and how they’re contributing to ‘breaking the bias’.
LUCIA GAVRILITA - MOLDOVA
Lucia is currently leading our response to the crisis in Ukraine in Moldova, with the Speranta centre hosting Ukrainian refugees, providing transit accommodation and food, and assisting them on their onward journeys through Moldova into neighbouring EU countries. Lucia is also working with other local organisations to support a local 200+ bed facility for refugees, providing them with vital supplies.
"She is one of those rare individuals you meet in life, a mum who gave birth to two children with special needs who decided not just to help her own but all such children in her nation. A truly selfless, dedicated and inspiring woman, like social reformers of old, she has brought change to a nation and thousands of children's lives."
NUNA MATAR - LEBANON
By passing these exams, students will have the chance to go on to higher education, something often denied to girls who are usually expected to marry or provide help at home. Female Syrian refugee teachers are also trained, given their own income and enabled to gain respect in their communities.
“Nuna’s incredible tenacity and determination inspires me. She always sees where the need is, and responds with so much courage, and gets things done. Her action and compassion is where so many others find such hope”
BABRA NANDAWULA - UGANDA
“She’s kind, fierce and loyal. She’s loved and trusted by everyone she meets and brings people together, always seeing and bringing out the best in people.
SISTER VEENA JACOB - INDIA
The programme fights child marriage and aims to keep girls in school by supporting them to progress to the highest education level they can. Women’s groups support each other with microloans to provide independence and promote respect for members within their families and communities.
“The gangster nun! Her strength is displayed in quiet, continual action as she gently but firmly breaks down the barriers that exist in people's lives”.
WINNIE BIIRA - UGANDA
Whether she is campaigning in the Ugandan Parliament to change the law on child sacrifice, making children at the Early Childhood Development centres laugh, or sitting on the grass teaching local women about saving, Winnie is always authentic, powerful and gives everything she can to bring change.
Winnie has innate wisdom and strength of character, leading Children on the Edge Africa with courage and tenacity, despite all the storms that come her way she remains calm and stable, a real force for good”.
OUR FEMALE STAFF IN KUTUPALONG
Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Rebeka Khatun says:“When some people see women working in the camp they make all kinds of insults, so we almost always have to deal with this behaviour, but as time has gone by these insults have lessened, as people start to see what we do and respect us for what we are achieving”.
Rebeka goes on to say: “My work as female Monitoring and Evaluation Officer on the project is constantly inspiring the young girls I come into contact with. This is because they see me as a humanitarian worker and they can see that my life is changed only through education. Now I live a better life, I have a job, I earn money and I can help people. So like me, they know their lives can change. What I tell them is this:
1. Education can change the nation.
2. Education is necessary for every woman.
3. Education can change women's lives.
4. Education is one of the blessings of life
5. As women we must work, not wait”.
“I can’t pick just one person, but in Bangladesh; Rebeka, Bristy, Jesmin and Shalia are part of a formidable team running the schools in the Kutupalong refugee camp. They train and inspire our female teachers, encourage the girls on our programme to use their voices and they are role models on breaking the bias through all the work that they do in the largest refugee camp in the world”.