International Women’s Day is a celebration and a challenge. Each year it marks the extraordinary achievements of women around the world who are transcending the often male dominated societies in which they have grown up and are leaving a mark which not only helps gender equality but society as a whole. It also reminds us that there is so much to do before women are treated as true equals with men.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is inspiring change. Here are five heroic women serving with BMS World Mission who are working to inspire change in often difficult circumstances for the sake of God’s kingdom.
Seeking justice for the poor
Life was not easy for Annet Ttendo
growing up in Uganda but she has channelled her difficult childhood into seeking justice for others. After being a lawyer for several years in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Liberia, in 2006 Annet became project director for the Ugandan Christian Lawyers Fraternity (UCLF). UCLF aims to help the poorest and most disenfranchised get legal aid and education to ensure they get the best legal protection they can in a society which favours the rich. Since 2012 Annet has been working for BMS in Mozambique, along with BMS colleagues Kathy Russell
and Damien Miller
to replicate a similar model to the UCLF by establishing the Association of Mozambican Christian Advocates (AMAC). It is not only about building up Christian lawyers so they can be more effective in serving the poor but helping those often forgotten in the legal system. Prison visits by AMAC like a visit to this women's prison in 2013
are a powerful witness that God values and loves everyone, regardless of their past.
Fighting infant mortality
In Chad, living beyond your fifth birthday is an achievement. Whilst infant mortality is very low in the UK, Chad has one of the highest rates in the world. BMS nurse Rebecca North
, working at Guinebor II Hospital in the capital N’Djamena, has taken the children of Chad to her heart and is trying to help them overcome life-threatening conditions like malaria. One life at a time, she is helping to improve the chances of children like baby Rebecca
to overcome disease and malnutrition and live a healthy life.
Teaching the lame to walk
When people have a spinal injury accident in Nepal they often face a bleak future. BMS worker Megan Barker, one of the very few occupational therapists in the country, is trying to turn this around. She and her team at the International Nepal Fellowship’s Surket Clinic are providing a full rehabilitation service for spinal injury patients. Normally Nepalis believe that life is over when they have a spinal injury, but Megan and her team are showing them it doesn’t have to be this way – there is hope.
Pursuing a dream
For Noeline (pictured right) life was tough in Kasese, Uganda, until she met BMS worker Bethan Shrubsole
. With the encouragement of Bethan, Noeline’s transformation
has been truly inspiring. She’s improved her skills by doing a tailoring course and she has since set up her own tailoring business. It has not been easy with setbacks along the way, but slowly Noeline is building a business and a better life for herself and her baby boy Israel.
Boosting girls’ confidence
, one of our female workers in Kosovo, is leading a team at a centre
run by a BMS partner offering clubs for children from a marginalised people group in the country. While the education system there strongly favours boys, Layla and her team are instilling the message that girls are equal to boys and trying to improvie little girls’ self-esteem. “The girls at school and at home are treated quite differently from boys,” she says. “At our centre we are trying to help to encourage the girls to have more confidence in their abilities and skills, to have more of a sense of their worth and their value.”
The work of these five women and all our BMS workers is helping to inspire change around the world. Make a donation
to BMS now to ensure this vital life-transforming work continues.