I’ve been really busy with my job these past few weeks, which is why I was looking forward to last night’s CARE Las Vegas Event. CARE is one of the oldest and largest humanitarian organizations in the world. Last year, CARE supported over 900 poverty-fighting projects in 87 countries, reaching more than 82 million people. They especially focus on women and girls.
I first learned of CARE’s excellent work after reading Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. This is a really powerful book, which I highly recommend. I also attended their national conference in Washington, DC in 2010.
As a busy person, I appreciate learning quick ways one can make a difference. Last night we learned about the “Education for All Act” (H.R. 2705), which is a bill that has been recently introduced into the House of Representatives. As only 40% of women worldwide can read, this bill would streamline the response to global education. Empowering women with education has been shown to significantly improve a women’s earning potential and child survival rates, and decrease the incidence of malnutrition. Currently H.R. 2705 has 35 co-sponsors in the House and is awaiting introduction into the Senate. A 5-minute phone call to you member of Congress to urge co-sponsorship can make a huge difference.
Another quick way to make a difference is to join CARE’s Partners for Change initiative. This is a monthly giving program where you can directly support sustainable development programs like the Peruvian birthing center we learned about last night. Quechua-speaking women in Peru have a high rate of maternal mortality, and this culturally-sensitive birthing center was built by CARE to allow them to practice their tradition of vertical birth in a safe environment. CARE also supports village savings and loan programs that help women in developing countries to start small businesses.
Another cool initiative that I learned more about last night is sending a virtual CARE package. CARE coined this term back in World War II and has recently re-introduced this concept. An individual or group of people can donate items worth between $12 and $250. For example, $12 can provide a family with insecticide-treated bednets to protect them from malaria and $62 can train a community health worker to provide pre-natal care to expectant mothers.
I cannot speak highly enough about CARE as a great organization. While so many people around the world face extreme poverty on a daily basis, CARE is doing something big to reduce these numbers for good.