Just this week I was sent a very distressing photo of a baby girl found dead by the side of the road. The photo is very upsetting and reminds me of the harsh realities of a life of poverty. If this was Australia, the news would make national headlines. Similarly, in Kotdwara, people are saddened by this news, but many are not surprised.
Why? Because when you are very poor, you may have the mindset that you can’t afford to have a girl. Girl’s are expensive, especially the cost of a dowry at wedding time when the parents of the bride are expected to pay a dowry to the parents of the groom. Also, girls are regarded as not being as employable and they certainly do not bring in the income to the family as much as young men.
This is why we are working with women in Kotdwara. Our programs seek to place value on women and to empower them in all aspects of life.
Kotdwara Women’s Shine Conference in April
We are excited to be bringing a team from Australia with us to Kotdwara this April, for the first ever Women’s Conference. Kotdwara has never seen anything like this. We are developing this idea from scratch and it certainly is unchartered territory for the Conference hosts -Daisy Samuel and Rowena Thomas.
We anticipate that more than 250 women will attend our one-day Shine Conference. Delegates will include women from Kotdwara and many others who will travel from neighbouring towns and cities. Women from the slums that we help will attend. Also, women from the local police, lawyers, social workers, media and wives of politicians have been invited.
Our sessions will be motivational with talks focussing on raising awareness of human trafficking, sexual health, the value of education, parenting, and careers. Women will share their stories and they will be pampered and blessed with nice food for the day.
Imagine the power and impact this will have! Our prayer is that women will be equipped in such a way that perhaps, just perhaps, a poor young mother will have many other options available to her, so that she will not be forced to leave her precious baby to die on the side of the road.
Our conference will cost a minimum of $2500. Might you please consider making a donation towards this?