Throughout the month of March various groups and events recognized women and their contributions to history and society. March is Women’s History Month in the US and March 8 was International Women’s Day. In light of this we at Tying Vines decided to highlight the work being done to support and help women through projects all over the world.
Common challenges faced by women in many of the countries where Tying Vines has projects include access to basic health care, physical abuse, discrimination, sexual violence and human trafficking. Melissa Mitchell, Walk with Me, reports that millions of women now live as refugees. Most are classified by the United Nations in the extreme poverty category. Many raising children born of violence “they endured as captives”.
The need is overwhelming everywhere. Timothy Cox, with the Gray Samaritan, leads others in rescuing young women out of the sex trade. They work to get them to the best possible situation- back with their families or to a place that will help them with skills to use for a better way of life. Helping to transform shame into strength and inspire positive change. ”We train women in many countries in how to defend themselves against evils that come their way and treat them with dignity and respect.”
The women that Bill Stewart and his team work with in Central Asia face the exodus of husbands, sons, and fathers. These men leave to find work anywhere they can. The women are left to care for the families and do what they can. “In the community that we are serving there are many women that are effectively abandoned by their husbands and have no means of support. This is because their husbands migrate to other countries in search of work and often fail to send back any support or never return. The Kilim workshop will train and hire these women, providing them with income and dignity of honorable work. “
As mentioned earlier, the need is overwhelming, but there is hope. Recently a story was shared from one of Tying Vines projects in Nepal:
Salma, a goat shepherdess, grew up in a remote village in the Himalayas. At 14 she saw no opportunity for education or work in her village. She was lied to about work being available in the city and abducted. Soon she found herself working in a brothel in another country. She persisted through the violence and abuse but soon found herself pregnant. After the birth of her son, she was forced into hard labor. Her dreams shattered and all alone.
"Ultimately, she was connected to one of our team. She courageously made a move to work with us doing work she had never done before, making handcrafted jewelry. She remembers clearly experiencing love for the first time in our offices. She was aware that there were people who cared about her. She has now been working with us for many years and she is not the same person she was when she started. You would never know what she experienced with the joy she carries. She is a talented craftswoman and she is the first to welcome new women stepping out of situations of trafficking."