It started with an especially meaningful visit to Bolivia, our country of origin, where we exposed to incredibly tragic living conditions in a remote mining town called Caracoles, approximately 7 hours outside of metropolitan La Paz City. While in Caracoles, we met many women who were born and raised to work in very dangerous and devastatingly cold mining projects. One woman in particular stood out. Her name was Luisa and she represented hundreds of other women waiting to greet us. Most of the women Luisa represented had lost their husbands in underground mining accidents, a tragedy far too common for most miners. These women were now forced to work as miners to feed their children, but they risk their lives and are still unable to provide many essentials. Some of the women have had to send their children to work in the mines too.
Given their remote location, Luisa advised that there were no secondary schools, hospitals or clinics nearby. Access to services for the most basic needs was nonexistent. Luisa was only 35 years old, but she said she hoped it would be possible to live 10 more years, long enough to see her kids go to school. Her desperate wish is for a better life for her children. Every day, Luisa risked her life in the mines as she pursued her ambition to improve circumstances for her children. Sadly, the typical miner only lives to the age of 45. Luisa was a woman who possessed very little self-confidence and she knew that she was entirely on her own, feeling the world had forgotten her.
Too many women like Luisa, living in remote and economically fragile areas around the world and even in isolated parts of urban communities, suffer extreme poverty, violence, and discrimination. This is far too common a circumstance especially for women in economically isolated areas.
U4C was launched to develop and implement strategies with the goal of creating opportunities for women in vulnerable communities, working with other social entrepreneurs, innovators, and global development practitioners in a coordinated fashion. This collaborative approach can multiply and maximize that social impacts. U4C it is part of a network of organizations and agencies who support universal sustainable development goals and that by working together, are addressing some of the most tragic human needs with innovative strategies for global challenges.
Today Luisa, like hundreds of other women in vulnerable communities, enjoys much improved self-confidence and has developed extraordinary leadership skills. Luisa has provided strong leadership for other women in her community and is now a vital part of local decision-making.
Graduates of U4C initiatives, like Luisa, have experienced the pride and self-worth that results from becoming literate, healthy, and economically empowered. With the knowledge and skills they have acquired these once disenfranchised women are now contributing economically to their households, break a protracted cycle of poverty, domestic violence, and other health challenges.
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