Monday, February 05, 2007

To Have a Voice, To Have a Choice

It's currently International Development Week 2007. Sponsored by CIDA, universities and NGOs, there are many events going on around Canada. This year's topic is Gender and Equity, focusing on "To have a Voice, To have a Choice."

Here are some links to events going on around the country. I know I should have gotten them up earlier, but I hope that you get the chance to attend at least one throughout the week.

CPAR Canada

Ontario British Columbia Nova Scotia

I took this picture in Dibate district, located in one of the most underserved regions of Ethiopia, where CPAR has one of its program areas. This girl is the daughter of one of CPAR's beneficiaries who participates in a income generating scheme: CPAR has helped to establish a beekeeping business for this family so they can break away from subsitance and afford school and medical fees. For me, this photo epitomizes the issues of poverty, and specifically gender, here in Ethiopia. Because her family is so large- 12 brothers and sisters, including some orphans taken in- she is needed at the house to help her mother. Even at such a young age, she's in charge of her two younger brothers, which means that it is unlikely that she'll ever attend school. Yet despite the extreme poverty that she inhabits, this young girl is staring me in the face with strength and confidence.

I think about this girl when I think about the topic of this year's International Development Week. I wish she had a Voice, and had a Choice.

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