Women Empowerment and Development Organization
The coronavirus pandemic has certainly been transformative for nearly every life in the world. From the constant worry of contracting the virus ourselves or losing a loved one, to the decreased unemployment rate or the idea of not being able to move forward in certain aspects of life such as buying a home or pursuing further education because of the economic state, the pandemic has truly created a new “normal”.
The unpredictability of contracting COVID-19 and the overpopulation of hospitals has caused for stay at home orders which means it is necessary that everyone is willing to stay at home from others. Unfortunately, this is not possible for many. Some are forced to leave their home for their basic needs, such as the elderly who are, in fact, at the highest risk. Others are in adverse situations and are compelled to live in unsanitary and overpopulated areas, such as the working class, homeless, or those residing in homeless shelters. It is highly likely that if one person among these populations is infected, the virus will spread rapidly due to close contact among its individuals. Needless to say, these individuals don’t even have access to proper resources to protect themselves and those around them.
WED has decided to take an initiative to aid populations with limited access to protective gear. We have partnered with maker spaces on the East Coast to donate PPE and face masks to women’s shelters, domestic abuse centers, and homeless shelters. Not only are we providing protective gear for victims residing in these shelters, but we also provide them for the volunteers and employees who continue to support and make a difference in society even during an international emergency. The Health Equity project hopes to only continue our efforts in reaching those who are unreachable from ample resources for their own health and safety for as long as the pandemic persists. If you would like to lend a hand in WED’s initiative, please contact us to see how you can help. Let’s help save lives!
Partnered Maker spaces:
Nova Labs-Reston, VA
Pretty Handy Gift Shop and Makerspace-Nutley, NJ
FUBAR labs-New Brunswick, NJ
Donations have been made to:
Center for Hope and Safety-Rochelle Park, NJ
Embry Rucker Shelter-Reston, VA
Women Giving Back-Sterling, VA
Muslimat Al Nisaa Shelter- Gwynn Oak, MD
Sui Dhaga, translates to ‘needle and thread’ in Hindi. Considering India’s vast textile industry, the first project of WED constituted of an establishment of a free sewing institute. India’s far-reaching industry will allow even uneducated women to earn a living. The establishment, located in a rented room in Nalgonda, India, brought together about 10-15 underprivileged women a few hours every morning to learn how to sew. The institution is free of cost to the women. All the expenses are covered by fundraisers held by students in the United States. Expenses include the room rent, the instructor’s salary, cost of sewing machines, clothes, electricity, and maintenance of the machines.
The instructor, Rameeza, is an individual living on little to no income herself. She wishes that these women become independent individuals, like her, and are able to financially support their families using their talents. In order to get the most out of their time, Rameeza designed a curriculum with units on trades such as tailoring and embroidery for the students to complete in about a year. Each lesson is followed by an examination to track the individual progress.
The goal of Sui Dhaga is to teach the students the needs of India’s textile industry so that they have sufficient skills and knowledge to attain jobs in local tailoring shops, garment factories, and elsewhere. The bigger picture is for us as a non-profit to become a stepping stool in their path to becoming independent, self-earning women. One of Sui Dhaga’s future subsets is to establish our own tailoring shop within our institution and employ our own students. The payment from our customers will be split by a 3:1 ratio between our students performing the tasks and WED as an organization. This will allow our students to grow at our own institution by earning for themselves and for WED to grow as an organization. The Sui Dhaga project is merely the beginning of what can be accomplished with the help of WED. With projects such as this, WED hopes to continue supporting underprivileged women to become financially independent.
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