A special thanks to our Cada Mes Club – Friendship Bridge’s monthly donors – for supporting our clients on their monthly journeys.
Each month the members of Friendship Bridge’s nearly 2,000 Trust Banks travel, most likely by foot, to their designated meeting place to make payments on their loans and receive a Non-Formal Education (NFE) lesson in their native languages. These lessons focus on four educational pillars – women, family, business, and health. Here’s a glimpse into what clients learned in April, May, and June.
April – Mi Negocio Hoy (My Business Today)
No lesson was given in April. Instead the women completed the Mi Negocio Hoy survey. Mi Negocio Hoy is our most comprehensive survey in terms of client reach. Last year we surveyed 10,000 clients. It is also our longest standing survey. It has been completed annually since 2012. As a result, we now have three years of data on which to analyze trends. As the name implies, questions center around each woman’s business – the type of business she manages, the tools she uses to manage her trade, the number of employees she has, her expenses and her income. Results become part of our annual Impact Report on Social Performance Management goals. Watch for its release in early September.
May – Motherhood
In May, in observance of Mother’s Day, the women celebrated motherhood and explored the different roles a mother must perform in order to nurture her relationships with her children, all of which are easier when financial burdens are lessened. To start off the lesson, the women listened to songs on YouTube that paid tribute to mothers. They were asked to share their reactions to the songs and their own experiences being mothers. In the end, they created paper “flowers” depicting symbols of motherhood – hearts, flowers, hugs – that fit in a “vase” made from a used container they had brought from home. This activity introduced the idea of creatively reusing common household items in alternative ways that might be resold.
June – Women’s Rights
In June, the NFE sessions focused on women’s rights. The goal was to make clients aware that human rights – equality, freedom, and dignity – belong to women as well as men. Additional rights belong to women simply because of their ability to have children. To encourage a dialogue around the topic, the women started the lesson by cutting pictures out of a newspaper that represented the rights of women. Once they identified some women’s rights, clients made lists of the first rights they can remember having won and the first rights they remember losing. Finally the women cast votes by crossing an “I agree” line on the floor for the rights they thought most important – health vs. right to life, marriage vs. freedom from violence, food vs. voting/election, among others.
Our Non-Formal Education program is the backbone of our Microcredit Plus program, and one of the Plus services that we feel truly empowers our clients. Thanks again to our Cada Mes Club for helping support this program! You can find more information about joining the Cada Mes Club here.
Here are a few client reactions to June’s session on women’s rights:
“The women’s rights session helped me remember how valuable I am. This topic and all the topics taught and discussed among our group help us grow and value ourselves as women.”
- Alba Alicia, age 39
“This specific training encouraged me a lot, and it came at a perfect time, as I separated from my husband recently. It was hard to make that decision but he was unfaithful, and out of my own dignity I decided to move forward alone with my six children. I now understand the value of women and the need to enforce our rights. Thanks, Friendship Bridge, for reminding us of that.”
- Juana, age 33