In 2014, CBM created the She Matters campaign to highlight global gender inequity. All around the world, girls and women are denied the right to fulfill their God-given potential simply because they were born female. You may have heard of the saying “you educate a girl and you educate a community.” Why? Because women play a crucial role in society. They are the caregivers. Women do the majority of child-rearing. They will ensure their children will be educated. Often in the developing world, they help raise children within the broader community. Women help each other to succeed.

My name is Sonia.

I am 10 years old. I used to work after school every day, selling roasted maize and so drinks on the streets, to help earn money for the family. It was never enough and we had little food at home. Mom and dad often fought and let me to take care of my siblings to go to the bar. But I am so happy to get food and help with my homework and other problems at Jireh. I now only have to work on weekends.

A sad fact of extreme poverty is that children like Sonia often have to work to help their families survive. It can become a vicious, generational cycle of poverty as children do not attend school, or drop out. The tragedy deepens when parents succumb to addictions and other destructive behavior.

My name is Lina.

I am 15 years old and live in a small village of 50 people. We do not have a school so I work in the fields and take care of the goats. But I am happy that I can now go to literacy classes at night. I love to write words and practice using Bible verses. I think it’s important for girls to learn. I want to be able to read and understand the Bible.

Living in a remote and neglected region, Lina is one of India’s indigenous peoples – the Soura. Thanks to She Matters, she and nearly 300 other girls and women had the opportunity to learn to read and write. It’s one of the educational opportunities CBM maded possible through our partnerships with indigenous local churches in India.

My name is Jeanette.

I am eight years old. I lost my mom to AIDS. I was relieved when my sister came home to take care of me. Even my brother returned home. He had run away and was living on the streets ever since he had to drop out of school when mom could no longer afford the fees. But we are excited that Guardians of Hope will help us to go to school. I can hardly wait!

Over 20 percent of children in Rwanda are orphans due to the tragic, compounding effects of the Genocide, HIV and AIDS and extreme poverty. Many like Jeanette are HIV positive themselves. But she and her siblings courageously face their challenges because of Guardians of Hope who visit and encourage them, pay school fees, and even built a small house with a tin roof to protect from rains. They also ensure that Jeanette continues to take antiretroviral drugs for a healthier, long life.

My name is Mary.

When I discovered my husband had hidden from me that he had HIV, I left him and returned home to my parents. Because I followed the doctor’s instruction not to breastfeed my daughter, she is healthy.

I joined a Guardians of Hope group and was encouraged to meet, talk and pray with others in the same situation. They have helped me obtain medicine and my health has slowly improved. I received a grant to start a small business of selling vegetables and mango jelly at the market. I have been putting a small amount in the bank for my daughter’s education. I feel like life is just beginning for us.

Unfortunately Mary’s story is not uncommon in some rural villages in India, where girls are often deprived of education and forced to marry young. An uneducated woman is vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. She can feel isolated and lack knowledge of health and nutrition that could greatly improve and extend the life of her family. And yet, in most communities, women are the most important person in breaking the cycle of poverty. For many women, receiving a small grant or loan to start a small business means they have the ability to provide a better future for themselves and their families.

My name is Hawa.

When I discovered my husband had hidden from me that he had HIV, I left him and returned home to my parents. Because I followed the doctor’s instruction not to breastfeed my daughter, she is healthy.

I joined a Guardians of Hope group and was encouraged to meet, talk and pray with others in the same situation. They have helped me obtain medicine and my health has slowly improved. I received a grant to start a small business of selling vegetables and mango jelly at the market. I have been putting a small amount in the bank for my daughter’s education. I feel like life is just beginning for us.

I joined a Guardians of Hope group and was encouraged to meet, talk and pray with others in the same situation. They have helped me obtain medicine and my health has slowly improved. I received a grant to start a small business of selling vegetables and mango jelly at the market. I have been putting a small amount in the bank for my daughter’s education. I feel like life is just beginning for us.

Hawa lives in one of Nairobi’s slums. It’s a difficult life of extreme poverty with little to no sanitation, poor access to fresh water and health care, and a high level of crime. The pressures of being a mother in such a situation are almost unbearable, but together with CBM’s Self-Help Groups, women like Hawa can meet these challenges and transform their lives.

My name is Samar.

I am a Master of Divinity graduate of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Lebanon. I work as a counsellor and Bible teacher at a school. Since the Syrian crisis started, I am also involved in my church’s ministry among refugees. We spend much time in prayer with them. A lot of healings have happened.

I do discipleship training for women who have come to faith, who are now themselves leading Bible study groups, and others to faith. They pray with such fervor. The joy and transformation that you see in them is so beautiful. It is amazing to see what God is doing through the whole Middle East. It is just beautiful to be a part of it.

At ABTS, 40% of residential students and 60% of staff are women. Despite the conservative cultures Arab women serve in, they are effectively sharing the Gospel through their ministries and are essential in the development of strong church bodies in the Middle East and North Africa.

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