Examples of Women’s Empowerment on International #DayoftheGirl

11 October 2021

At HART, we ensure that women’s empowerment is at the core of every project that we support.

We are proud to work alongside our incredible partners across the world as they strive to bring education, security, and opportunity to the women of their communities.

Here are just a few examples of how we support women in our partner countries:


Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN), Burma:

SWAN is a founding member of the Women’s League of Burma (WLB), an umbrella women’s organization comprising 13 women’s groups from Burma. SWAN is a Community Based Organisation (CBO) dedicated to gender equality and justice. It was founded in 1999 and has been one of HART’s partners since 2004.

SWAN’s Women’s Wellbeing Programme (WWP) aims to reduce maternal, infant and child mortality rates in rural areas of Shan State and amongst displaced populations in Thailand. As part of the programme, health workers and volunteers from inside Shan State are trained and taught about reproductive health and family planning. They are equipped with the knowledge and materials needed for preventative health education, enabling them to provide reproductive and maternal health care to Shan women.

SWAN staff members at their 20th anniversary celebration

SWAN also provide emergency assistance for migrant women and children in crisis situations, particularly those affected by serious illness or domestic violence. Many of these women are cut off from their support networks, as their families remain inside Burma or in refugee camps. SWAN run safe houses, help with treatment costs, provide counselling, conduct vocational training sessions and work with other local organisations to provide legal and other support in emergencies.

‘Exchange’ sessions are coordinated to bring vulnerable women together to discuss challenges, share experiences and support one another. These meetings have a profound effect – empowering vulnerable women, building stronger communities and raising awareness of women’s rights. As a result of their success in Thailand, these meetings are now being replicated within Shan State.

In 2019, at a ceremony marking SWAN’s 20th anniversary, Nang Harn Noan, SWAN Co-Founder, reaffirmed that SWAN would “like to renew our commitment to bring social justice and gender equality to our community.”


Diocese of Wau, South Sudan:

HART partner, Archbishop Moses Deng Bol, in Wau provides subsidised and free education to women in his community. Moreover, he uses the minimal Church resources available to arrange free school meals for girls at the Diocesan schools. As a result of this scheme, girls’ retention in schools has increased markedly. Archbishop Moses also ensures that at least 30% of his employees are women, with the hope of setting an example for other employers and creating more opportunities for women in the region.

A student at Marol Academy

In previous years, HART supported British school teacher, Naomi Pendle, who spent years living and working in South Sudan at the school she founded called Marol Academy, a girls’ school that boys can attend. To attract more girls to school, she combined girls’ education with training in midwifery and administrative training., providing a pathway to employment that others could not.


St Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC), Syria:

In 2019, EPDC supported a programme in Maaloula which sought to empower local women as they returned to their town following its capture by multiple Islamist ‘rebel’ groups operating together during the civil war. The militants not only desecrated holy places but also looted, destroyed homes and committed acts of kidnap and murder. The project trained women to preserve fruits and vegetables in order to provide food for their families and generate an income through selling the surplus produce. This helped women contribute to their local economy, ensure that their families were food secure for the winter and earn an income.

A woman signs up for support from EPDC

In 2020, EPDC also supported a quilt workshop which helped vulnerable displaced families. Women were taught the skills necessary to produce quilts for themselves and local families in order to protect them from the harsh Syrian winters. The programme produced over 1100 quilts. The savings made by not having to spend money on the items provided enabled the families to fund other needs such as medical care and education. The positive impact extended to the workers of the quilt and food processing workshops, since these orders secured their salaries, expenses, and the sustainability of their projects for several months.


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