Empowering Women = Saving Kids
We believe in the power of women. We were drawn to Haiti to learn more about an organization called REBUILD Globally. This organization is led by a innovative woman named Julie who believes in the power of hope. Julie started REBUILD Globally with a vision for developing sustainable models of employment to empower local women.
When we visited Haiti it was still reeling from the massive impact of the eathquake. Julie's company makes sandals. These sandals are made from old tires that are otherwise discarded to clutter the urban landscape. They have developed a system of making sandals that is environmentally sound, self sustainable and is focused on employing women from within at risk communities.
We are currently running a pilot program in Haiti to determine how we can effectively empower women to impact at risk children.
REBUILD Gloablly is in Port au Prince. Julie went there to start a business. What she found was that she could not turn away from the kids. In the aftermath of the earthquake there has been an increase in street children. Life on the streets is brutal. There is not enough food. Rape is a tool to define power and control. Many of the parents were lost in the earthquake or are chronically unemployed and unable to care for their children.
Fifteen to twenty of these boys kept hanging around Julie's shop. She could not let it go. She tried to find ways to help them. She believed that they had potential. She knew they were hungry. Her time was soon split between growing a business and having her heart broken by these boys.
We wish we could do more in Haiti. The problems are immense. We asked Julie what we could do and she suggested an innovative approach. We agreed to run a pilot program.
Julie believes that by employing more women in the community that there would be empowerment. She had started to see it was the women who had jobs at REBUILD Globally that were taking interest and ownership of the boys on the street. She believes that by empowering more women that they will devise thier own strategies to impact at risk youth within their own community.
We are willing to take a chance on this model. We have met these women and they are amazing. We believe that they are Haiti's best chance of meeting the challenges of street children. It is a small step but one that we hope will bring healing to the streets of Haiti.