“In a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.”
II Corinthians 8:2
One of our favorite partner organizations is called the Mothers’ Union
ARDF is effective and efficient because of the incredible local partners who initiate and implement our projects around the world. By working through local Anglican congregations and organizations, we benefit from their cultural expertise and credibility while reflecting one of our key values: local knowledge for sustained impact. One such grass-roots organization is the Mothers’ Union, an international charitable network of Anglican women that seeks to support families around the world.
Mothers’ Union members are living out the Gospel in some of our poorest communities. There are members in 83 countries, from Sub-Saharan Africa to Southeast Asia. They are faithful Anglicans, mostly women, who support families, care for the sick, and visit the hurting.
In Ethiopia, the Mothers’ Union provides family health training for women
We recently received a report from Dr. Wendy LeMarquand who oversees Mothers’ Union training in consultation with local leaders in Gambella, Ethiopia. They were facing a crisis of infant mortality in Gambella: “What we found was that out of an average of 9-11 children per mother, only 2-4 children survive beyond the age of five and nearly all these deaths are preventable,” she said.
However, working out of the Gambella Anglican Centre, they are beginning to have an impact: “We started a program where representatives from each of the 70 churches can come and learn ways of preventing childhood death and disease, and then go back to their communities and teach the whole membership of the Mothers’ Union,” she said. “Now we have 3,000 women who are each helping teach one another.”
Wendy continued, “I wish you could have seen the tears in their eyes, the joy, the excitement: ‘you mean I can actually do something to make a difference?’ We just had a teaching session on clean water and the delight of the women was inexpressible. What a privilege to be part of that.”
Half a world away, in Myanmar, the Mothers’ Union works tirelessly to help families and their communities escape from systemic poverty
Although Myanmar is a place of incredible cultural richness and natural beauty, years of repression and isolation have left one third of the nation’s people in poverty. Yet the Anglican Church and especially the Mother’s Union, have remained places of hope and healing for children and parents.
Less than one fifth of Myanmar’s 60 million people have access to the financial services they need to start small businesses or buy seeds to grow crops. Often, in order to get the capital they need, many families must seek help from predatory money lenders who charge unreasonably high interest rates (15%-20%). These deceptive, high-interest loans often make things worse and permanently entrap families in cycles of poverty.
Thankfully, through funding from ARDF, the Mothers’ Union has established self-help groups that are providing business training and micro-loans to women and families. Group members put in a small amount of money each month and receive very low-interest loans (3%) that help them start small businesses and grow crops.
Best of all, these loans can be easily repaid!
Will you help us empower these courageous Christian women as they help families around the world escape from poverty and find hope?
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