Empowering Women: The Key to Generational Change
To create change in a community, especially in Iraq, it is crucial that we focus on women and young girls; for they are the center of the families that make up a community and society. If we are able to change their life trajectory, then we are able to transform the living conditions of entire communities and generations.
Of course, we can support widows and children financially and through in-kind support, which we do, however, to create sustainable change we must do more than that. Through our partnership with Lady Fatemah Charitable Trust and the Mothernomics Skills Training program, widows are taught professional sewing skills in order to be able to support themselves and their children. Through this program they produce garments that supply schools, hospitals, restaurants, as well as the Imam Hussain Shrine for theatrical costumes. Earlier this year our partner Lady Fatemah Charitable Trust opened the first retail store in Karbala selling these items. Local and pilgrim shoppers can visit the M.O.M. store and support these mothers and children.
While mothers are developing their skills, DRF also supports the education of their children. Oftentimes orphaned girls are unable to continue school because of the financial and logistical limitations. DRF provides basic living support for widows and their children so that young girls can continue their education. DRF also provides education for orphan girls from preschool all the way through higher education institutions. The Al-Salihat Girls Academy has the capability to educate over 400 young ladies from grade 7 to 12. Graduates of the school have been accepted at prestigious and advanced universities such as medical, pharmaceutical, dentistry, and engineering schools. DRF also provides interest-free loans for those who continue on to private higher education programs. This opens up many opportunities for them to be able to support themselves and their families.
In addition, DRF is able to employ over 120 number of women staff members in our schools as teachers and administrative staff. DRF also employs over 400 healthcare workers at the Al-Hujjah Hospital. These women are able to provide for their families and also serve as role models for the young girls they interact with. This in turn continues the cycle of women empowerment and the transformation of generations.