Local Nonprofit Making an International Impact for Girls: Women to Be

Sophie Carroll

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Few new nonprofits are making such international ripples as Women to Be, an organization founded in 2015 by Christine Glidden. The organization provides feminine hygiene products for girls who would not be able to attend school without them, securing stable educations and futures for girls who often live with nothing.

 

The group made its initial impact in Nepal, where Glidden first learned about the harsh realities facing schoolgirls and women when they begin to menstruate. Glidden’s Nepalese friend had told her about one of the harshest conditions she faced living in a refugee camp: every month, she would have to sit in the corner on a rag or go into town with no protection, often putting a bag over her head to avoid facing the shame of a biological function experienced by 50% of the world’s population. And this friend was lucky—in other rural regions in Nepal, women are shunned and confined outside the home in a practice called “chhaupadi.” In winter, these women often freeze to death.

 

Women to Be has donated kits to Nepal twice in the past four years, making sure girls don’t fall behind when they can’t attend or drop out of school after an accident. The less education a woman receives, the more her freedom and health is severely compromised, her marriage age lowered, and her birth rate heightened. Women to Be is also in the process of establishing a sewing center in Kathmandu, employing women who would not otherwise have a source of independent income.

 

Women to Be has visited Guatemala twice, Zambia once, and is also planning to provide donations and a sewing center in Mexico. They provide sexual education classes to girls in these locations as well as educating women about the causes of pregnancy and its connection to menstruation. In 2018, Women to Be brought the king of Zambia’s Bemba tribe to New Mexico to establish a relationship in which both parties work for the health of women.the delegation from the tribe, Zambia’s largest and which six million Zambians belong, also discussed women’s health and education with the 19 pueblos of New Mexico.

For those wanting to become involved in the ground-breaking work of this nonprofit, donations are always helpful, and volunteers are welcomed. Women to Be will be holding a crowdfunding campaign in March, so make sure to enter your email in the “volunteers” link so that you can participate in liking and sharing their social media to raise awareness and make more donators aware of this fundamental problem. If you have any questions about the project or ways to get involved, contact me, Sophie Carroll (at [email protected]) and I would love to have those you know involved in the Women to Be Youth branch, which raises awareness of Women to Be’s high-impact solution to an incredibly potent women’s education barrier.