The United Nations estimates that between 250,000 and 500,000 women were sexually assaulted during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. According to Amnesty International, 67% of these women contracted HIV. Post-conflict, women are often left as widows to assume the traditional roles of men in rebuilding their lives and their country, while caring for their children and even the orphans of their neighbors. Focused on daily survival, they often are unable to attend to their own emotional and physical rehabilitation needs.
As the primary caretakers of their communities, women also have the greatest insight into issues facing women and their underlying root causes. Unfortunately, they often have the least representation and access to the education and resources needed to address these challenges. While microfinance exists, it rarely provides the level of funding necessary to tackle systemic social issues such as domestic violence, rape, illiteracy, or sexual exploitation of women in exchange for basic needs. Further, such sizeable start-up debt would strain early-stage social ventures from their social purpose as they struggle to generate the revenue necessary for ongoing operating costs. For these emerging change agents, there are almost no opportunities to obtain the training and support necessary to launch their grassroots social ventures. Global Grassroots helps these women help themselves via the tools of Conscious Social Change.
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