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A spotlight on CARE

May 21, 2009
From CARE's "I Am Powerful" Campaign

From CARE's "I Am Powerful" Campaign

Last week I wrote about one woman’s cooperative to help other trailer park mothers pool their resources to help raise their children into healthy adults. This week I am going to talk about an older cooperative called CARE, a non-profit you may be familiar with. I went to a talk last week in Chicago about what CARE is doing in other countries and it made me think of why organizations like these are vital in fighting for basic human necessities and rights for people all over the world.

If you’ve gone away from home for long periods of time, your parents and/or friends may have sent you CARE packages. The idea of the CARE package originally came from the CARE organization (background and history of how CARE started and where the CARE package came from is here).

CARE has been around for almost sixty years and is one of the largest private international humanitarian organizations. Now, I should preface this article by saying that I don’t work for CARE and I don’t know anyone who works for CARE, so this is not an advertisement. But I wanted to share my thoughts on CARE and also why it’s so important to support organizations like these, especially in the feminist movement.

CARE works with women

CARE’s mission is “to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. Drawing strength from our global diversity, resources and experience, we promote innovative solutions and are advocates for global responsibility.” You can read their mission in-depth here.

The main reason why I want to highlight this organization, is because they work specifically with women to create social change among other women, men, and children. They place special focus on:

. . . working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. CARE also delivers emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters, and helps people rebuild their lives. (from care.org)

The presentation that I went to was about recent CARE work of pregnant mothers in India, what kinds of work they do,  and what campaigns they are currently working on. Overall, I really liked the presentation. And if I had money pouring out of my pockets, I would probably invest a lot in this organization. Below is a video which they showed in the presentation from CARE’s “I Am Powerful” campaign:

Questions about CARE

There was one man from Uganda who now works at the CARE headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia who answered questions about the organization. The first question I asked was “Does CARE work inside the United States?” The answer to this was “no.” He explained that yes, there are people who are poor in the U.S. but their standards of living were much higher than the poor people outside of the U.S. I agreed and disagreed with this answer, because I think that there are poor people in the U.S. that are living at a similar poverty level as a very poor person in Africa—why can’t we help our fellow country(wo)men? But I also remember that this organization is private and not run by the government, so they can work wherever they want to. However, I was unimpressed with that answer, just because it didn’t correlate with their mission/vision of the organization. But CARE does work in 66 countries outside of the U.S.

Another question that was asked by an audience member was, “When CARE wants to help women in small communities, do men accept/agree/disagree with your help? How do you get them to accept your work?” This was a very interesting question, because I’m assuming that since CARE is a large humanitarian organization,  they would not want to go into a community where they are not welcome. Just like their mission/vision, CARE explains to the men of the community that by helping and caring for the women, it means that they are making families healthier and safer. By helping women maintain their health and well-being, it helps them to bring up not only healthy children, but take care of their husbands as well.

Healthy Mothers and Families

One of CARE’s newest campaigns is called “Healthy Mothers and Families” to curb the maternal mortality rate in the poorest countries and to teach mothers how to be healthy. Zap Mama has teamed with this CARE campaign where you can download a free single from iTunes called “Hello to Mama.” You can see their “Hello to Mama” music video below which features a CARE project:

For more information about CARE, please go to care.org.

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