Imagining a World Without Poverty

All over the world, women support their families. They provide food and collect water. Women are heroes, consistently going without to make sure their families are cared for. Women are more likely than men to experience hunger in every region of the world. One step toward eradicating poverty is to empower women so they can keep changing their family’s world for the better—one day at a time.

This summer ERDO launched 365, a campaign to support women every single day. This initiative highlights ERDO’s efforts to help young girls stay in school, earn an income, and access food, water, and menstrual hygiene products. ERDO is also working with mothers and widows, offering job training and financial resources to help them provide a better life for their children. By installing clean water wells in rural communities, ERDO is keeping women safe from violence and their families free from waterborne illnesses. By focusing on women through the 365 Campaign, ERDO is reaching some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Stellah is a widow raising five young children, and she lives with HIV-AIDS. Life has not been easy for her. She lives in a remote area of northern Kenya where it is extremely difficult to grow food or collect water. She grew up as a shepherd girl for her family until she was married off at a very young age and moved to a neighbouring village. Once there, Stellah joined a church and heard about the love of Christ for the first time. She chose to follow God.

Kenyan woman getting something to drinkERDO works with Stellah’s church to support women through business training. Stellah became part of the program and joined a women’s savings group. Since she had such a passion for sheep and goats from her days as a young shepherd, she began taking loans from the savings group to buy sheep and goats. Stellah loves shepherding animals, and she feels called by God to her vocation. She quickly increased her flock and has been able to make a profit from her business.

Almost 80 per cent of women in the least developed countries are employed in agriculture. Like Stellah, most of these women are paid to raise livestock or produce food. However, in many areas of the world, women are not allowed to own land or receive an education. It can be especially difficult for widows whose husbands used to bring in the family income. Without support it is hard for widows to live from day to day. Learning business skills and financial management is changing the lives of these young women, widows, and their families.

Girls are created beautifully in God’s sight, yet the world can overlook and damage them. ERDO wants to make sure no girl is denied an education or access to food and water. We want to ensure that young girls will not miss school due to their menstrual cycles and help older women provide for their families. Through our 365 initiatives, women of all ages can reach their God-given potential.

We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the problems facing women around the world. In many areas it has destroyed small businesses, kept women from accessing food and water, and closed schools. At ERDO, we are choosing to see the current reality as an opportunity to help women who may be facing more difficulty than ever before.

As followers of Christ, we have this opportunity to change the world in which we live. Together, we can create a new future where women are given the dignity they deserve. When you support ERDO’s 365 projects, we move closer to a future where women are empowered to live in a world without poverty.

ERDO’s goal is to raise $365,000 this year to support women with lasting change every single day. We know it is an ambitious goal, but we believe that supporting women is one of the first steps toward ending poverty for everyone. By taking consistent steps to help women, we can change the world.

You can help a woman like Stellah today in so many ways through ERDO’s 365 Campaign. You can support her small business through training and a microfinance loan. You can send her children to school to receive an education. Or you can install a clean water source near her home, which will keep Stellah safe from violence or the elements as she collects her daily water.

To find out more about the issues impacting women in the developing world and how you can help, visit https://www.erdo.ca/365.

ERDO is the humanitarian arm of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. ERDO empowers people living in poverty through crisis response, community development, and child sponsorship. This article appeared in the July/August/September 2021 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2021 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.Photos © ERDO.

This content is provided as a free sample of testimony. Subscribe for full access to the complete magazine.