Developing gender equality in the world has a home in NJ

Seeds to Sew is a New Jersey organization working with women in two subsistence farming villages in rural Kenya, Maasai village in the Transmara District and a Kikuyu area in the Central District, which are disadvantaged, poverty-stricken areas.

Ellyn Ito, of Seeds to Sew International, trains aspiring seamstresses in rural Kenya.

The organization’s goal is to empower women by teaching them basic sewing and business skills.

The women that Seeds to Sew works with create Enkiteng Bags, Enkisoma Bracelets and Githomo Gifts.

Sewing is typically a man’s profession in Kenya, so this is an important opportunity for these women in order for them to become self-sufficient.

All the products that the women make are sold by Seeds to Sew here in the United States, and the profits go towards school-fees and other school-related expenses, as well as medical care and feeding their families.

Esther Nyambura Waithaka

“Before I joined the Enkiteng Program, we used to go hungry because we didn’t have money for food but now we are able to buy food and also we don’t have difficulties in paying the school fees for our children,” said Esther Nyambura Waithaka, who started with the program in 2012.

Women around the world need support in their struggle for basic rights.

Of the world’s 1.3 billion poor people, it is estimated that nearly 70% are women. Women do almost 70% of the world’s work, but generate only 10% of the world’s income, and own 1% of the world’s land.

In most countries, women work approximately twice the unpaid time that men do. Two-thirds of the 130 million children worldwide who are not in school are girls. Between 75-80% of the world’s 27 million refugees are women and children. Only 28 women have been elected heads of state or government in this century and women hold only 11.7% of the seats in the world’s parliament.

The total global population of girls ages 10 to 24 – already the largest in history – is expected to peak in the next decade, nearly 50 million girls are living in poverty, and yet 99.4% of international aid money is not directed to them.

In the developing world, gender inequality is far more dire problem than it is in the United States.

In Kenya, women have significantly less access to education, land, and employment. In poor areas, less than 25% of girls go to school.

Only 62% of Kenyan women who are of working age are employed, and those who do get jobs only earn 67 cents for every dollar that a man makes.

An estimated 26% of Kenyan girls are married before their 18th birthday, and women living in rural areas are twice as likely to be married under age 18 than women living in urban areas.

Seeds to Sew International, a member of the Fair Trade Federation, is a US-based non-profit charity with the mission of improving the lives of women and girls in disadvantaged communities through education and job skills training.

You can volunteer to be a part of this platform through which women and girls can create a future for themselves, their children, and their society.

To find out more, visit www.seedstosew.org.


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