Austrian group supports women’s projects in PH.
The Catholic Women’s Movement (CWM) in Austria held a benefit event dubbed “Aktion Familienfasttag” or “Day of Fasting in the Family”, for aid projects in Asia, including the Philippines, and Latin America.
“We are working together with our partners to ensure that women get better opportunities in life, where living conditions are particularly difficult for them,” Margit Hauft, CWM chairwoman said at a press conference in Vienna.
Hauft said women’s education in many countries and cultures is still not given much importance.
A CWM member for 10 years and who had worked in Mindanao for the group said about 80% of the population lived below the poverty line in some underdeveloped regions.
“The illiteracy rate among women is the lowest social strata in some areas,” the members said.
She added, “My work in southern Mindanao was indeed very painstaking though at the end I had succeeded in winning the confidence of women. In makeshift classes, women learned to read and write, gained knowledge in basic health and hygiene issues and agricultural know-how in order to sell their own agricultural or handicraft products.”
About 2,000 women and their families benefited from the projects that CWM initiated in the Philippines.
CWM aims to provide microloans to women with good business ideas.
Dr. Angelina Briones, president of the Philippine Rural Bank of Women, is one of the contact persons of the movement. The bank awards microloans to women and helps them obtain a stable livelihood.
CWM further told ABS-CBN News that one of the beneficiaries in the Philippines, Nimfa Mendosa, has become a successful entrepreneur and winner of several awards.
Mendosa started many years ago with a small loan from the Rural Bank of Women in the production of Ube jam, a Filipino specialty made from yams.
The excellent contributions of “Aktion Familienfasttag” since its creation in 1958 to combat hunger in the world have received great acclamation from the Austrian government. Traditionally, the second Friday of Lent has been dedicated to collect donations in most parishes in Austria for the said action.
From Ash Wednesday to Easter, thousands of women all over Austria serve “fast food soup” or go from house to house to solicit donations. In the larger cities, the CWM stage prominent charity soup dinners.
In the previous year, the group achieved a record donation of 2.4 million euros. Part of the collected money was used to help finance projects of WISE ACT Philippines, a non-stock, non-profit organization that supports initiatives of women in their livelihood activities through skills enhancement, product development, linkage to market and upgrading of technology.