Women make up half the world’s population and yet represent a staggering 70% of the world’s poor. We live in a world in which women living in poverty face gross inequalities and injustice from birth to death. From poor education to poor nutrition, to lack of job opportunities and low pay employment. This should be unacceptable but is all too common.
Mentors International firmly believes that empowering women is an essential element to achieving the end of extreme poverty. In the countries that we serve, our programs aim to support women and build their capacity to succeed and become self-reliant.
Here are eight ways Mentors International empowers daughters, sisters, and mothers around the world while simultaneously bolstering the fight against global poverty.
1 – PROVIDE FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS
Organizations such as Mentors International lends small amounts of money to women who do not have access to traditional banking systems. When these financial solutions are given (also known as micro-loans), these mothers can start or improve their own small businesses and better support themselves and their families. Micro-loans help women gain financial independence, save for the future, create jobs for friends and family, send their children to school, … the list of benefits goes on. Women make up 90 percent of the micro-loans that Mentors International gives out. Donate to our Financial Solutions fund. With our perpetual loan model, your donation will help support women over and over again.
2 – TEACH JOB AND BUSINESS SKILLS
In its annual “State of the World’s Children” 2019 report, UNICEF says 264 million children worldwide do not attend school. The report also states that an estimated 65 million girls are being denied basic education, increasing the likelihood they will live in poverty or die young. Many of the women working with Mentors International have had little to no education, and even fewer opportunities. We provide ongoing and personalized MENTORING, business training, job-focused vocational classes, and guidance appropriate to their situation.
The women we serve become very excited when they realize that they can run a “successful” business or qualify for higher-paying and more stable jobs thanks to the training that they have received from Mentors International. Now, these mothers are able to afford to send both their sons and DAUGHTERS to school.
3 – INCREASE INCOMES AND SAVINGS
As their incomes increase these women are taught by our MENTORS to properly manage their finances. They are encouraged to start their own saving account and get out of personal debt. We carefully track the progress of each MENTORED woman. On average these MENTORED women increase their incomes by 159%, they increase their savings by 550%, and they decrease their personal consumer debt by 65%. They are transforming their lives and breaking their generational cycle of poverty.
4 – BUILD SELF-ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE
A majority of women report that their self-esteem or confidence has significantly increased since attending a Mentors International training class. They become more comfortable speaking in front of groups and sharing their opinions. Our mentors teach these women to create a vision for their families, and their businesses or vocations. They come to understand that they can achieve more than they think they can. The knowledge and encouragement these women receive are vital to their success as they move forward building their own futures.
5 – IMPACT HEALTH
Many women and mothers trapped in extreme poverty don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Many families impacted by Mentors International now have the financial means to feed their children meals higher in nutrition value. Carmelina from Guatemala (watch her story) is now able to feed her children healthy meals. With stable incomes, these mothers can afford not only to feed their families but provide them with preventative medical services like medicine and prenatal care.
6 – BUILD SOCIAL NETWORKS
By building social networks, women gain more support and greater opportunities to effect change in their communities. Women are empowered and inspired to grow and improve their situations when they meet together at our Centers for Education and Mentoring, or virtually through our online MENTORING groups. Knowing that they are not alone in facing issues associated with extreme poverty gives these women hope for the future. They become more inspired to help other women in their community by sharing the knowledge and business skills they have learned.
7 – CREATE PUBLIC LEADERS
In many developing countries, women rarely hold public leadership roles. With their growing businesses, many of our clients become local leaders. They take on leadership roles and help encourage and mentor others. Women are joining committees, facilitating meetings, raising their voices against injustices, and organizing community improvement programs.
8 – TELL THE WOMEN IN YOUR LIFE THAT YOU CARE
Empowering women starts right in our families, workplaces, and neighborhoods. Write a note of thanks to a MENTOR that encouraged you along your lives’ journey, pick up coffee for a mom who’s struggling to balance it all, or tell your own sister, daughter, or mother how much you appreciate them.
We envision a world where everyone has the choice to be free from extreme poverty. Through meaningful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential they offer to economies the world over.
Donate to Mentors International so that we can continue to MENTOR and support these women waiting for their opportunity to succeed.