A Mother’s Day Gift – Empowering a Woman

Mother’s Day is a special occasion to express our love and appreciation for the special women in our lives. We want to use this day as well to highlight the challenges women face in many parts of the world and the admirable strength they show every day in caring for their children and family and in contributing to our society.

Our Danish Colleague Maria Lykke Andersen shares about a moving encounter with women, and one mother in particular, at a women’s centre in South Sudan, where women empower each other. (see also the video below)

“Nyawech Puoch Manyal finds strength in conversations with other women who, like her, struggle with the aftermath of violence. They meet in a women’s center supported by ADRA, where they also pass on their skills to each other.

“I had lived in a violent marriage for over 10 years. The unrest, the division, and the violence escalated when my husband took another wife,” begins 30-year-old Nyawech Puoch Manyal from Upper Nile in northeastern South Sudan.

“In October last year, he beat me so brutally with a metal chain that my leg could have been useless today.

I experienced a hell of pain but couldn’t afford the necessary medical help.

In the city’s women’s center, administered by ADRA, I had heard others describe how empowering it is when we women share our stories with each other. So, I decided to do just that.

After listening to the others, they encouraged me to seek help to save my leg. As part of ADRA’s program, it is possible for us at the center to receive financial support for medical treatment after abuse. The money covered transportation to Ethiopia and part of my expensive operation. I paid the rest of the hospital bill with a loan from a friend.

Not being heard – Talking to deaf ears

Here in my town, Maiwut, going to the police doesn’t help, so after the assault, I contacted the town’s leadership. They tried to mediate between my husband and me, but he wouldn’t listen. Now he has moved to the capital, leaving me with the task of being the sole provider for our four children.

Once I had recovered from the operation and my leg was functioning, I returned to the women’s center. I joined the team and learned embroidery. We pass on our skills to each other, and for example, I teach others how to bake bread. Since then, I have embroidered two sets of bed linen and sold them at a good profit. That’s how I managed to repay the loan to my friend.

Not allowing oneself to dream of the future

I feel relieved by the small progress, and I plan to embroider more sets of bed linen. My goal is to start a business.

Right now, I don’t allow myself to dream about the future. All my time and earnings will be spent supporting my children with enough food and education.”

A thoughtful gift for mother’s day

A recent report issued by UNFPA reveals that the rights of women worldwide are increasingly pushed back again over recent years. 1 In particular women are staying behind due to many forms of marginalisation and discrimination.

For this Mother’s Day, think about a “gift box” that will make one of these women smile. Engage yourself to stand up where you see women’s rights pushed back. Donate through your local ADRA office and support a woman like Nyawech Puoch Manyal in her efforts to be heard, experience healing, be empowered, and empower other women and the children in her life.

Thank you from all our hearts!

  1. Weltbevölkerungsbericht: UNO sieht Rückschritt bei Frauenrechten – news.ORF.at ↩︎