Our Stories

Day of the Girl 2021

What girls in Ghana have to say about International Day of the Girl 

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Girls are at the core of so much of what we do at The Hunger Project. 11 October marks International Day of the Girl, a day we celebrate the power, resilience and potential of millions of girls across the world.

We spoke to five girls from Ghana, aged between 13 and 16 about their hopes, dreams and ambitions.  

Faizatu

Faizatu, 16 

How would your friends describe you? 

My friends describe me as humble, intelligent and respectful. 

Who’s been your biggest inspiration in life so far? 

Mr. Michael Peprah (Faizatu’s school principal) is my biggest inspiration.  

What do you want to be when you grow up? 

I would like to be a teacher when I grow up, so that I can impart knowledge to the younger generation. 

If you could pass on one message to the world, what would it be? 

I will urge my fellow teenagers especially the girls in the world to stay focus on their studies and say no to teenage pregnancy and drug abuse. 

Polina, 16 

How would your friends describe you? 

My friends describe me now as the bold type and knowledgeable. 

Who’s been your biggest inspiration in life so far? 

My biggest inspiration has been my mother, she is very caring and provides for all my needs.  

What do you want to be when you grow up? 

My vision is to become a pharmacist. I always feel sad when I see people die because they cannot get medication for their illnesses.  

If you could pass on one message to the world, what would it be? 

My message to the world is that we need to work together to end child marriage and child labour now! 

Sarah, 13 

How would your friends describe you? 

My friends see me as someone who encourages them to study and to be educated.  

Who’s been your biggest inspiration in life so far? 

Madam Josephine, who is my class teacher. She inspires me the most and she gives me a lot of encouragement to aspire high and work hard. 

What do you want to be when you grow up? 

I aspire to become a lawyer in the future. I always feel happy when I see lawyers in their uniforms. I have pledged to stand for the truth and defend the girl child and more importantly, teenagers who [have been forced] into child labour or have been raped. 

If you could pass on one message to the world, what would it be? 

I would like to use this opportunity to tell the world that parents should encourage girls to go to school and desist from forcing them into apprenticeship against their will. 

Sandra

Sandra, 16 

How would your friends describe you? 

My friends describe me as respectful and hardworking. 

Who has been your biggest inspiration in life so far? 

My biggest inspiration is a musician called Celestine Donkor.  Her lyrics are inspirational and an encouragement to me. 

What do you want to be when you grow up? 

I would like to be nurse when I grow up. Taking care of the sick is my passion because I want to care for people and give health education to girls.  

If you could pass on one message to the world, what would it be? 

My message to the world is that parents should treat their children equally, no matter if they are boys or girls. 

Tematey

Tematey, age not given 

How would your friends describe you? 

My friends always describe me as respectful, humble and a decent girl. 

Who’s been your biggest inspiration in life so far? 

My father has always been my biggest inspiration in life. 

What do you want to be when you grow up? 

I would love to be nurse in the future, so that I can help people who are sick. 

If you could pass on one message to the world, what would it be? 

One thing I would love to tell the world out there especially my fellow girls is that in every situation choose character over success 

These girls have a hunger for education and for a better future. You can secure a better future for them and millions of other girls around the world by giving to The Hunger Project. Give now.  

 

 

 

 

Three stories of impact from India

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A few months ago, we ran a campaign for creating COVID-resilient communities. Since then, our 550,000 trained local leaders on the ground have been in constant motion: assessing and re-assessing the ever-evolving challenges, and leveraging their collective leadership, resilience and resources to design and deliver local solutions for a COVID-safe future.

Given good news stories are something we’re all aching to hear about at the moment, we’d like to share with you 3 of the thousands of stories of courageous leaders creating impact in India right now.

How Women Leaders In India Are Building A COVID-Safe Future.

Elected women trained by The Hunger Project in India like Gudiya, Kamla and Mamta have been working hand-in-hand with accredited health workers on the village frontlines. Together they’ve delivered essential healthcare – vaccinations, iron and calcium tablets, accurate information – deep into rural and remote villages.

1. Gudiya Cares For The Next Generation.

Because of elected woman leader Gudiya and her close partnership with healthcare worker Anita, extremely malnourished children are receiving iron and calcium tablets in Madyha Pradesh. They go door-to-door visiting families for health checks and motivating people to get vaccinated. Anita estimates that in the past year she has screened more than 1,500 people for COVID-19.

2. Kamla Leads From The Front.

Because of elected woman leader Kamla, 82 people got their first vaccination in the space of just 2 days in rural Bihar.

“When the vaccination drive started, so did the rumour mill about how vaccines increased the chances of infection or that they made men impotent. We knew we had to spare no effort to sensitise people. I took the vaccine first to show people how it helps us, not harms us.” – Kamla, an elected woman trained by THP who balances her public duty with her responsibilities as an accredited healthcare worker.

3. Mamta Busts Harmful Myths.

Because of elected woman Mamta and her unique relationship with health worker Guaramma, myths and misconceptions about COVID-19 are busted on a daily basis in Karnataka. Visiting 20-30 houses a day, they share accurate healthcare information so people can protect themselves and their communities.

You can become a Changemaker.

You can play your part in standing up against the status quo by unleashing this kind of practical, community-minded leadership that is required for us to create COVID-resilient communities around the world. If you are inspired by what you’ve read here, take action, make an impact and give now or monthly to further our work.

Rebecka’s business is sending her children to school

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Rebecka is a farmer and mother of five from Boti in Ghana. Rebecka has become an entrepreneur thanks to her partnership with The Hunger Project.

Rebecka participated in the microfinance program implemented in her community by The Hunger Project. Thanks to this program, she was able to take out four different microfinance loans.

With the money from the first loan of 100 cedis (the local currency equivalent to about AUD$22), she took it and invested it in her sustainable palm oil and agriculture farming business. She made a small profit and repaid the loan back quickly.

For her other microfinance loans she was able to buy a motorcycle which she now leases to people in her community. Motorcycles are useful for transport in rural communities and leasing them out allows her to pay off the loans and make some money on the side.

“It’s a big encouragement for me to have my own business. I feel proud to be self-employed and not work for somebody else,” Rebecka said.

Thanks to the money she’s now earning from  her business she can afford to send her children to school. Rebecka has lifted her family out of hunger and with her children attending school they too are keeping themselves out of the cycle of hunger. Her husband has even decided to take part in some of The Hunger Project’s training programs, but she asserts that she is financially independent.

“My husband helps me with my business, but I take care of the money. My money is my money. 

 “I like to be employed by myself, I’m proud of my company,” she said.

Rebecka has bigger dreams and a wider vision for her business. She would like to expand her business in the future to a bigger farm, reaching more communities and she wants to partner with The Hunger Project as she does it

I need to buy larger pots for the palm oil so that I can produce larger quantities. I’m quickly outgrowing myself. When I have paid off the latest loan, I want to take out another microfiance loan, with the lessons I learnt from The Hunger Project, so I can buy more pots.

“My plans now are to expand the business so that I can move from the family farm and build my own house with my husband and our children,” she said.  

Inspired by Rebecka’s story? Invest now and empower more women like Rebecka so they too can lift themselves and their families out of hunger.

Abraham Made His Children A Future

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Abraham Narh is a farmer and father of 8 children from rural Ghana. His children can’t go to school because they need to work on the family farm so they can produce enough crops to sell. This is not the life Abraham wants for his children.

Abraham’s vision was to make a future for his children. After partnering with The Hunger Project he was able to make his vision a reality.

On the farm the family grows corn, cassava, coconut and other vegetables, selling what they can at market. Abraham went to a workshop run by The Hunger Project and he learnt the importance of diversifying the crops he grows.

The THP workshop also taught Abraham about the benefits of microfinance loans, so he took one out at the the local Hunger Project Epicentre.

Using the new skills he learnt at the THP workshop, Abraham has been able to grow his crop yield beyond belief. He now has enough money that he can employ people to work on his farm, and his children can finally go to school.

Abraham has made his vision come to life and he has been able to make a future for his children.

“I want my children to decide their own future for themselves. I wasn’t that privileged, I want it better for my children,” Abraham said.

Invest now in changemakers like Abraham so they can make their vision for the future a reality.

Kossegui shows that things can be done differently.

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Kossegui Ganigi is a farmer from Guinagourou, Benin. She has two daughters and is taking care of her sister’s baby, as her sister died in childbirth. Kosseguis’s dream is that all girls in the village can go to school and all women can give birth safely. She has found her own way to bring the people in her village into achieving this dream.

“I am convinced that it is possible if the women of Guinagourou get involved together. But nobody wants to believe me. They think it’s a strange dream and can’t imagine it,” Kossegui said.

For a year, Kossegui woke up an hour earlier every day and went door-to-door around her village to try and make her neighbours understand the importance of her vision. They remained cynical, however she knew she couldn’t achieve her vision on her own. She needed their involvement.

She came up with a new plan.

“I manage to save 15 cents a day from my fish business. With that I can build the first stone house in the village after a year. Everyone wants a stone house, but the neighbours also think that it is not for our kind of people.

“If I have a stone house, they will see that things can be done differently. And then they will also start moving. Just wait,” Kossegui said.

Invest now in changemakers like Kossegui to do things differently and transform their lives.

Meet Kaushalya Bisht

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Sustainability, Interconnectedness, Decentralisation.

Kaushalya Bisht is an Elected Women Representative from Uttarakhand, India, a remote region at the foothills of the Himalayas. The Hunger Project worked with her to develop the skills she needs to make change for her community as a representative through our SWEEP program (Strengthening Women’s Empowerment through Electoral Processes). As part of this program, The Hunger Project trains Elected Women to read, write, speak and lead the political agenda to improve education, health, and nutrition in their villages.

Uttarakhand is the only state in India where village communities come together to protect and nurture their forests by forming forest councils. The forests are a lifeline for women. They provide wood for them to build their houses, dry wood for fires and fodder for their cattle. Ensuring the sustainability of the forests is crucial for survival in the village.

However, in Kaushalya’s village, they hadn’t held elections for the forest council in 15 years.

“We formed a collective of 30 women and decided to revive the forest elections,” Kaushalya said.

“My team of women patrolled the forests. We didn’t allow anyone to cut down the trees. Together, we planted 100,000 trees. We take care of the forests like we do our own children.”

During her term as an Elected Women Representative, Kaushalya made 45,000 kg of paddy seeds available to the farmers and distributed 300 tree samplings to encourage the people in her village to grow trees. For the women in her village, 80% of their farms are across the other side of the river, which means the women have to walk a long distance to their farms. Kaushalya secured the building of a bridge by taking the matter to her village council. She also took action to prevent soil erosion by building 11 check dams (small dams built to reduce water flow velocity) by the river.

“I want my village to continue thriving.”

Kaushalya continues to shape a legacy of protecting the environment and ensuring sustainable change for future generations in her community.

Invest in women like Kaushalya to bring transformation to villages in India here.

 

Meet Jessie.

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Jessie is 41 years old and lives in the Nsondole community in Malawi. Jessie and her husband have five children.

“My number one vision is to educate my children,” she says.

Jessie has been receiving farm input loans from The Hunger Project since 2017. With these loans, she has been able to purchase seeds to grow maize and rice which she can use to feed her family. She then sells any leftover produce at the market. With the money they made selling their produce at the market, Jessie and her husband invested in a sewing machine, which her husband used to set up a tailoring business.

With two incomes to support them, everyone in the family now has three meals a day. Now, Jessie’s goal is to buy a motorcycle so her family can get around much more easily.

“My household is doing much better now. We are practising new planting methods and special farming methods so now my family doesn’t have to live in hunger and I can send my children to school.”

Meet Cheikh Diouf.

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Originally published by The Hunger Project Nederland

Cheikh Diouf from Ndié has been a member of the grain bank at Ndereppe Epicentre, Senegal, since the start of 2006. He has also become a member of the newly established farmers’ association. This has enabled him to provide his family with enough food.

“I have learnt and improved on my sowing technique and get good seeds from the grain bank. The yield from my country has increased enormously! I now harvest a greater amount with less time investment and less land. I used to grow millet on four hectares of land — now I only need two hectares. On the remaining two hectares I can grow peanuts and beans, some for my family and some for sale. ”

Cheikh Dioud, member of the grain bank - Senegal - Ndereppe - Johannes Odé - 300x300In his house, Cheikh has six barrels of millet — a few in the storehouse and a few in the bedroom.

“I have enough supplies at home to feed my family. I have two women, nine children and many grandchildren living with me. One barrel, which holds 250 kilos, can last three months. With the six we have enough millet to get through the year! I don’t have to buy millet at the grain bank, but it is good that this facility is present for others. ”

As an Animator (local volunteer leader) with The Hunger Project, Cheikh provides information about sowing techniques and food security to his fellow villagers. He is also a member of the food security village committee.

“Being a member of the grain bank has enabled so much for me. I no longer have any problems feeding my family. My fellow villagers and I have more knowledge about agriculture, and the village has gained a greater sense of community and solidarity.”

Bizuhaye Terefe Goes Back to School

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Originally published by The Hunger Project Nederland.

In the North Shoha region of Ethiopia, The Hunger Project is actively working with the Her Choice alliance to end of child marriages and enabling girls to re-enrol in school. Often, these are girls who have dropped out of school after a child marriage or teenage pregnancy. The Hunger Project empowers girls so that they can finish their education and transform their situations for themselves and their children.

Bizuhaye Terefe, 19 years old, lives in the village of Wujiba with her aunt and five-year-old son, Abity. She has been going back to school for two years now.

Bizuhaye is happy that she can go back to school after she had to leave when she was just 13 years old.

“When I was 13, I was raped and then I got pregnant. That was a very nasty experience. I’m still sad about that,” Bizuhaye says. “Because I was expecting, I had to quit school — that’s how it works here. I was living with my grandmother at the time because my mother had died a year earlier. After Abity was born, I lived with grandma for a while, but she could no longer care for us. Fortunately my aunt, Genzeb, then took us in.”

Image credit: Johannes Ode

The Hunger Project started the Her Choice program in the region two years ago. They empower and run activities for girls who left school too early to give them the chance to go back to school. Like Bizuhaye, these girls are usually married early or pregnant.

“I was visited by the school director, asking if Bizuhaye wanted to come back to school. Of course I wanted to help her, but I had no money for pens, notebooks, uniform and other school supplies. The Hunger Project then took care of that so Bizuhaye could go back to school!” says Genzeb.

Bizuhaye says, “I really enjoy going back to school. My favourite subject is English. My dream is to become a pilot later, that seems great. I can therefore earn a lot of money and help my family. If I later become a pilot and my future husband has a busy job, I want to plan the arrival of even more children. I certainly want to have four children, but I want to be ready for it. Abity can then become a big brother. It will take a while before the time comes. First I want to finish high school and study. And my son will also go to school from next year. “

Stella’s Story.

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We will never forget the look on Stella’s face when she described having no choice but to marry off her 14-year old grand-daughter, Emilida, to keep the other three children in her care alive. Stella’s eyes were heavy. The shame she felt was etched on her face. No choice. What would you do? Save three children or potentially lose four?

Stella’s daughter and son-in-law had died of HIV and Stella had taken on the care of their children. Suddenly, she had four children she couldn’t afford to raise.

Stella’s grand-daughter, Emilida, was married off at 14 to a man twice her age. One day, while Emilida was at the markets, she was approached by two Women’s Empowerment Animators (local volunteer leaders) trained by The Hunger Project. The Animators asked Emilida why she wasn’t at school and why she was so dirty. After confiding in them about her marriage, the Animators and Emilida returned to her Grandmother’s house and spoke to her about the negative impact of child marriage and the importance of education. The group decided that it was time to take action.

They went to the village chief and had Emilida’s marriage annulled.

The Women’s Empowerment Animators empowered Stella with the knowledge and resources she needed to transform her family’s life. Now, Stella farms maize and sells firewood to earn an income. She re-enrolled Emilida in school and is an advocate for girls education.  Stella has also become a Women’s Empowerment Animator, so that she can empower other women and girls in her community.

Emilida’s vision is to one day become a teacher so that, she too can empower others through education.

This is not a story of despair. This is a story of hope, courage, transformation and possibility for the future. Leadership is not about having influence or power. Leadership is having a clear vision and having the determination, courage and passion to achieve it.

Find out more about our Leadership Immersion Programs.