MADRE is a partner with many projects involved in the Give2Girls Campaign. Given the many essential services they provide for women internationally, as well as the many opportunities for donation, we wanted to feature their background and work. We interviewed them about their past work, and what they hope to accomplish.
What’s the story behind MADRE?
Almost thirty years ago, MADRE was created to meet the immediate needs of women and address the underlying causes of the crises they face. In 1983, at the height of a war in Nicaragua, women there extended an invitation to a small group of women in the United States to witness and discuss the atrocities committed by the U.S. funded, contra militia. What they saw horrified and angered them. They were shown entire communities – day care centers, schools, and hospitals – destroyed by bombs. Upon their return to the United States, the women, led by Founding Director Kathy Engel, began MADRE to aid the women and children of Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast. Grounded in the concrete work of collecting humanitarian aid for Nicaragua, MADRE offered ways for people to join together to demand alternatives to destructive policies, at home and abroad.
Although created to address this specific crisis, the leaders of MADRE recognized the necessity of focusing on the universality of women’s roles and oppression as a key to building lasting partnerships between women from different communities. To this day, they continue their commitment to international women’s rights and welfare, and have provided 30 million dollars-worth of material support to their sister organizations worldwide.
Today, MADRE works in partnership with grassroots women’s groups in Afghanistan, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Nicaragua, Palestine, Peru and Sudan to advance women’s human rights by meeting urgent needs in communities and build long-term solutions to the crises women face. They support three overarching program areas: Peace Building; Women’s Health/Combating Violence against Women; and Economic and Environmental Justice. They work towards a world in which all people enjoy the fullest range of individual and collective human rights; in which resources are shared equitably and sustainably; in which women participate effectively in all aspects of society; and in which all people have a meaningful say in policies that affect their lives.
So how did you become connected with Jolkona?
We came across Jolkona in a search for additional fundraising opportunities for our programs with women and families worldwide, and jumped at the chance to participate. Our partnership began in 2009. Now, we have eight active projects on Jolkona.
One of your projects is providing health kits to women and children in Gaza. Can you tell us a bit more about the project and how it’s going currently?
After the recent escalation of violence in Gaza, MADRE and our local Palestinian partner organization responded by bringing urgent medical care to injured civilians, particularly women and children. Thanks to donor support, MADRE was able to send two disbursements of funds to the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. In Gaza, PMRS operates four clinics, four mobile clinics, two physiotherapy centers, one assistive device center and individual relief services. During the recent escalation of violence in Gaza, all PMRS centers and teams were equipped to offer emergency health services and disburse medication. Their local positioning and knowhow allowed them to deliver emergency care to vulnerable neighborhoods in Gaza where the need is greatest. PMRS also held psychosocial support sessions for children traumatized by the recent violence. Sessions were held in schools and activities include therapeutic games and coloring.
What kind of lasting change does the project hope to engender?
The support of donors provides emergency medicines and supplies during this crisis, which has saved lives. Providing care now will better equip Palestinians to weather the crisis and rebuild their communities in the future.
To create lasting peace in the region, we need to demand an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the occupation of Palestinian land, and safety from armed attacks for all people in the region. We’re committed to pushing the Obama administration for a human rights-based policy in the Middle East. But in times of crisis, the most urgent thing is to heal people’s suffering.
So say I give $10 to the project, can you explain a little further the impact that is achieved?
During times of violence, your gift will bring urgent care to wounded and traumatized children and families in Gaza, who have no other source of help. Continued support of this project will better equip Palestinians to effectively manage crises as they arise and rebuild their communities in the future.
We love stories at Jolkona. Do you have a favorite impact story you can share?
In the wake of the most recent period of violence between Israel and Palestine, MADRE received a letter from our sister organization, K’inal Antsetik A.C. (Land of Women), in Chiapas, Mexico. They heard about our work in Gaza and decided to help in whatever way they could. Their letter expressed solidarity with women and their families affected by violence in Gaza. Remembering the support they had previously received from MADRE, the women of K’inal Antsetik A.C. offered words of kindness as well as money they had personally collected to aid us in our work. This embodies the spirit of MADRE – grassroots organizations from around the world coming together to ensure that that all women receive the resources they need to thrive in the most trying of circumstances.
In a nutshell, why should someone give to this project?
When you give to MADRE, you can be sure you’re making a concrete difference in the life of a woman who is struggling to build a better future for herself and her family. Whether you’re helping build a clinic, feed a child or deliver emergency aid after a disaster, you can feel confident that your gift will be used in a smart, efficient way. At MADRE, a full 88 cents of every dollar you give go towards our lifesaving programs with women and families.