International Day of Rural Women – October 15th, 2014

In honor of the United Nations, International Day of Rural Women, we’d like to take some time to share the stories of two women whom we have encountered in our work. These women have particularly inspired us through their dedication to their families, their communities, and their futures.

Beauty of the Philippines
Her shining, inspirational smile

Carrie is 28 years old and currently lives in a rural village in the Philippines, with her current partner Jon. Together they have 4 children of their own under the age of 5, along with a 8 year old daughter from Carrie’s previous relationship. To provide for her family daily, Carrie tends a small garden in front of her home and avidly advocates for the needs of her children and family at the local social welfare office. While Jon works in the rice fields when it is harvest and planeting season, and the remainder of the year he does odd jobs to try to support the family.

No matter what obstacle Carrie is encountered with she always maintains positivity and a giant smile on her face. Even last year, in July 2013, when she was struggling to accept that she was pregnant with her 6th child and get her husband to steer away from his alcholism and focus on the needs of his family, Carrie remained happy. When she had her first ultrasound just two months before her due date, Carrie found out she was having twins, which came as an overwhelming shock. However, after the twins were born Carrie took motherhood in strides, remaining devoted to her children and inspiring her husband to stop drinking and begin expressing his love for his children.

Carrie is an unbelievably strong woman and an incredible mother. Without any stable income, no matter what obstacles she is faced with, she always puts her own needs aside to provide for her children and loves her family with all her heart. She serves as an amazing role model for girls in her community.

Mary was barely 21 years old when Typhoon Haiyan, the largest storm in the history of the world, ripped through her village. Thankfully, despite all odds, 300 kph winds, and the roof of their evacuation center being ripped off, Mary’s entire village survived the Typhoon. Nonetheless, the devastation in her village was massive. Every single home was destroyed, if not entirely flattened or swept away in the flood waters. In the days prior to the Typhoon all the rice was harvested from the surrounding fields, which meant the Typhoon had also destroyed the livelihood of the community, and their main food source.

Typhoon Haiyan News Reporting with Angus Walker
Less than one week after Typhoon Haiyan. Angus Walker, iTV news (right)

In the weeks that followed the Typhoon, Mary feared the fate of her family and especially her younger siblings. Their home was now a makeshift shelter, that still flooded and leaked, and they were depending on relief goods to sustain themselves each day. When Mary was presented with the opportunity to join the relief efforts of a local NGO, she didn’t think twice and began work the next day. Although the job was difficult, forcing her to confront the devastation of the Typhoon and be away from her family during the week (whose situation was still unstable) due to the high cost and lack of reliably of public transportation, Mary dedicated herself to her work.

Using her close relationship with the community, Mary has been able to re-establish the NGO’s programs in her village and maintain a healthy relationship between the community and the organization. Instead of giving up, when her life was literally turned upside down, Mary faced the challenge of moving forward with understanding, energy, eagerness, and sensitivity.

There is a great deal we can learn from Carrie and Mary. Through their positivity, resilence, and energetic spirits they have helped served as inspiration for individuals both in and outside of their village. In this way, they are contributing to the social and economic development and future of their community. Their stories illustrate the power women have in their families, communities, and jobs.

Today we celebrate Carrie and Mary, and Rural Women, who continue to empower those around them to work tirelessly to improve their conditions and create sustainable lives.

Do you have an inpiring story about a woman living in a rural area around the world?

Please share it with us on our Facebook Page! We will select one story to be featured in the GoAbroad Foundation Newsletter in October.

To learn more about International Day of Rural Women, visit the UN’s Event Page.

Note: Names have been changed to protect the identity of these women, if you’d like to help us compete projects in their community, please Contact us.