Monday, June 15, 2009

Women Hold Up the Sky

We all know the proverb, "Women hold up half the sky." In Africa, I believe that women hold up far more than that!

From what I have witnessed in Southern Sudan, it is the women who do all the heavy labor--not just the dangers of bearing children (Sudan has the world's highest death rate from childbirth), but also the risks of foraging for firewood and carrying water over long distances every day, the backbreaking work of growing vegetables on small plots of land, the manual pounding of maize, the constant worry of providing enough food for their children, the tending of the sick and elderly--the list goes on and on. Yet the women display remarkable strength in the face of adversities daunting enough to make most of us want to crawl into a fetal position. They liven the villages with song and dance. They dream dreams for their children's future. They pass on their values of hospitality and hope.

Mercy Beyond Borders is pleased to introduce Teody Achilo Lotto, who despite being a refugee for nearly 20 years has found innovative ways to hold up the sky. She and several colleagues founded the Sudanese Women's Voice for Peace and sponsored workshops for other refugee women in the camps: human rights, trauma healing, leadership skills, peace and reconciliation. Teody serves as liaison for MBB with groups of refugee women now leaving the camps and returning to their home villages. MBB values Teody's wisdom and experience and is honored to partner with her in lifting displaced women up from extreme poverty.

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