The short, dark, last days of the year are a great time to reflect on your 2008 Activist Resolutions, and your favorite "social actions" of 2008. What did you do this year that you feel made a real impact?
My favorite social action was being a sponsor for Jacinta Onoro, a Nigerian woman participating in Women for Women International.
Women for Women International supports women survivors of war in conflict and post-conflict areas (Afghanistan, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Sudan). Each woman is paired with a sponsor whose donation helps to cover some of their basic necessities (food, water, medicine). They also participate in a Renewing Women’s Life Skills (ReneWLS) Program, a job skills program, and have access to business services to help them start microenterprises.
As a sponsor, in addition to the $27/month that I donated towards supporting Ms. Onoro, I also wrote a letter to her each month. It took a while for her to write back, but she did eventually, and told me about her experiences in the program.
Gina Trapani of Lifehacker is also a Women for Women International sponsor. She signed up to sponsor two women after seeing a 60 Minutes segment on rape in Congo, where Women for Women was featured. She posted a scan of one of the letters she received on her post, Two Great Charities at Work to Beat Poverty.
Ms. Onoro graduated from her program in November, and I've decided to sponsor another woman from Sudan in 2009. It would be nice to connect with other sponsors, like the woman who started a book club for Women for Women International sponsors, described in the post, Guest Post: Congo Conflict - What You Can Do. The group writes letters to the women they sponsor when they meet each month.
A Women for Women International sponsorship can also be given as a gift. Nancy Northrop created a special program to facilitate her customers supporting Women for Women International, which she describes in her post, Face-to-Face: How Women Can Make a Difference. Her company underwrites the cost of each survivor for one year, if the customer agrees to write them a letter each month.
What was your favorite social action of 2008? It can be anything: a volunteer opportunity, a donation, a petition, a protest, using less paper bags, or educating yourself about an issue. Tell us about it.
Cross-posted from BlogHer.com