Happy International Women’s Day to you strong women (yes, that’s all women)!

It’s International Women’s Day, and while every day is a perfect day to honor and celebrate women, we want to recognize that right now is a great time to start a conversation about gender equality and how this impacts poverty. And hopefully the conversation and the resulting actions continue beyond today.

Historically, women have not been given the same economic opportunities as men, especially in developing countries, and while this has been changing, there is still work to be done. When women are empowered and supported so that they can provide stability for themselves and their families, poverty shrinks, hope is created, and God is glorified.

There are many ways to empower women around the world. Jesus’ Economy is working with an existing program in Bihar, India to do just this.

In Bihar, a state in extreme poverty, families are forced into a repeated cycle of poverty in which their basic needs are not met. But Jesus’ Economy is partnering with a program there that teaches women tailoring and seamstress skills; and then adding innovative business training and microfinance to these efforts. With this program, we will create sustainable jobs for the impoverished.

This is Jesus’ Economy’s Empowering Women Program.

A Program to Create Opportunity

The day Jesus’ Economy decided to launch this plan is a day CEO John D. Barry will never forget. A woman placed her hands in his and wept. She said, “I can now afford to keep my kids in school, but keeping food on their plates often feels impossible. I am constantly facing the decision of whether to eat or pay for school supplies or clothing for my children. Will you pray for me and my children?” She could pay for her kids to go to school through her sewing work, which she learned via a non-profit sewing school, but her business needed a boost.

Women like this are ready to work hard to offer their children a better life; they just need the opportunity. Together, we can give them this chance for a hopeful future. Jesus’ Economy is offering graduates of the sewing program the chance to learn how to make products for a western market—as well as learn business basics and ethical business practices.

Our partner in Bihar has already taught women how to sew, but they need the additional business skills to become successful and sustainable.

Business Will Change the Cycle of Poverty

Our business-training program will teach 40 women how to expand their businesses. The training has two phases. First, a trainer will come in and offer a one-week training session on product development, employee management, handling accounts, and running an ethical, fair trade business.

The second phase involves hands-on product development training. This will be a two-week session that guides the women through their own product development cycle and further business ethics training. This trainer will be available for an additional 10 weeks for free consulting to the women. By the end of the training, the women will be equipped to sell high-quality products locally and on the western market. They will have moved from tailors to successful international businesswomen.

After the training, the women will be eligible for a microloan from Jesus’ Economy to purchase supplies for their expanding business. Jesus' Economy also changes the economic paradigm by becoming the guaranteed buyer of the products the women are creating. Jesus' Economy will sell these products in our fair trade shop.

Business-training ultimately fights against the cycle of poverty, and gives women hope of changing the future for generations to come.

International Women’s Day isn’t just about celebrating what women have accomplished. It is also about recognizing what we can still do to empower women and work to put an end to global poverty.

On this International Women’s Day, you can empower a woman in Bihar, India to lift her family out of poverty, and bring positive change to the world.  

Today is World Day of Prayer, "a worldwide, ecumenical movement of Christian women of many traditions who come together to observe a common day of prayer each year, and who, in many countries, have a continuing relationship in prayer and service." World Day of Prayer "promotes justice and equality for women through prayer, partnerships, service and celebration." These are principles that we at Jesus' Economy full heartedly affirm.

We Believe in the Power of Prayer

Here at Jesus' Economy, we believe that God can do all things through prayer (see our article, "Prayer that Causes Earthquakes"). Since the founding of Jesus' Economy in 2012, we have kept a prayer request list and asked you to join us by praying. Like the World Day of Prayer movement, we believe in empowering women. Business opportunities, especially for women in regions that are oppressive for women, are the key to that empowerment.

Pray with Us for Women Overcoming Poverty

Today, we ask you to join us in praying for two things:

  1. The many female artisans that Jesus' Economy supports through our online Fair Trade Shop. Through fair trade, artisans all over the world are overcoming poverty. Pray that the businesses of the women Jesus' Economy supports may continue to grow, so that they can provide for themselves, their families, and create jobs for other people in need.
  2. The Empowering Women initiative of our Renew Bihar, India campaign. The women empowerment ranking of Bihar, India is .379, making it one of the top ten worst places in the world for women. We have a vision for launching a new stage of business training for women in Northeast India, which includes providing microloans and connecting female entrepreneurs to opportunities to sell their products (especially in our online Fair Trade Shop). The launch phase of the project is currently 56% funded and it needs more support. Pray for the women of Bihar, India and that Jesus' Economy can generate the funds to launch our Empowering Women initiative in Bihar.

We believe that through prayer, anything can happen. God has provided a grand vision for Jesus’ Economy and we need to join in prayer to make it happen. Thank you for joining with us in prayer, especially for the women around the world who need the empowerment of business opportunities.

Today is International Widows’ Day, established by the UN as a day dedicated to taking action against the injustices committed against widows worldwide. But it’s not just a day to have a meal with the widows you know or to make a donation to a cause you support. It’s a day to commit to taking care of widows and to changing the opportunities they have.

In many countries, widows are not treated fairly or kindly because of their status. While this is not the case for most widows in the United States, we should still be supporting the widows in our lives, and we can strive to make things better for widows who are mistreated, as we know God has called us to do.

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).

What does this look like?

You probably know a few widowed women, either personally or from your church. Start there. On International Widows’ Day, make a plan to support these women—not just for one day. Make sure they are being taken care of and do what you can to assist them spiritually, emotionally, and physically. You could do a Bible study together, volunteer together, or even provide meals for them. A lot of widows also need help with projects around their home because they might not have the time, money, skills, or resources to do it on their own. Just having an extra set of hands can be very helpful, so ask what is needed and do what you can.

There are also several ways you can get involved with programs to support widows worldwide. Here are a few great organizations:

“We are dedicated to providing support to grief-stricken young families in their time of deepest need. When a parent dies the financial burden can be huge. The LLF awards monetary grants to meet families’ emotional and financial short-term needs.”

“The Global Fund for Widows is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering widows and female heads of households to overcome poverty through skills-based training, job creation, and micro-finance.” 

“Modern Widows Club is committed to being advocates to give widows a voice, enable and empower them to move forward and become vital members of society once again able to thrive.”

“GriefShare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone.”

Jesus’ Economy doesn’t have a program set up directly for widows, but we do have a program to empower women in Bihar, India. Through this program, several women will be trained to maintain their own businesses and therefore be able to provide for their families. The women in this program come from a variety of family backgrounds—some married, some single, and some widowed—but because of their businesses they will have a way to support themselves. If any of these women were to become widowed, they would have the resources they need to feed themselves and their families.

On International Widows’ Day, we should think about how we can support women around the world, whether they’re in our neighborhood or in a developing country. Take this day to be there for your friends who are widows, and think about how you can contribute to the welfare of widows worldwide not just today, but every day.

Father’s Day is right around the corner, and if you’re still wondering what to get your dad, consider finding a cause he would believe in and make a contribution in his name. Jesus’ Economy has a few different programs to eradicate poverty in Bihar, India, so take a look and think about supporting one for Father’s Day.

In Bihar, more than a million people are living in poverty because they do not have access to clean water or the ability to buy or grow food. The economy is poor, and there are simply not enough jobs. And when families have limited food and water, education gets pushed back, and the families remain stuck in a cycle of poverty.

If your dad is a hard worker who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty, donate to fund the drilling of a water well

A large contributor to the poverty in Bihar is a lack of clean water. Some women and children spend many hours each day walking miles to collect drinking water. This takes up so much time that women cannot work and children cannot go school. Our clean water program raises funds to drill wells in Bihar. Each well can provide safe water for 2,000 people, and so far we have completed seven wells.

If your dad supports gender equality, donate to empower women

When families have access to safe water, women have more time to work and provide for their families. Our empowering women program is going to train 40 women to run successful tailoring businesses and sell their products on the western market. These women already have skills in tailoring, but need an opportunity to learn business skills.

If your dad is a great teacher, donate to plant churches

We are working to bring hope through the alleviation of physical and spiritual poverty. Our church planting program funds church planters in various villages in Bihar to set up home churches, and also to go into the villages and share the gospel. At this point, we are funding four church planters, all of whom are additionally starting Bible studies and literacy training as they go. Thousands of people in Bihar are hearing the gospel for the first time, and each church planter brings the gospel to thousands more.

The dads in our lives have taught us how to make the world a better place. This Father’s Day, celebrate these dads by supporting people in Bihar the same way they have supported us.

Mother’s Day is coming up in a couple weeks, and while you can buy her something special from our Fair Trade Shop, consider making a donation in her name to one of our programs to end poverty in Bihar, India.

In Bihar, more than a million people are living in poverty because they do not have access to clean water or the ability to buy or grow food. The economy is poor, and there are simply not enough jobs. And when families have limited food and water, education gets pushed back, and the families remain stuck in a cycle of poverty.

But Jesus’ Economy is doing something to stop that, and this Mother’s Day, you can donate to eradicate poverty.

Provide Clean Water in Bihar, India: Meet Basic Needs

A large contributor to the poverty in Bihar is a lack of clean water. Some women and children spend many hours each day walking miles to collect drinking water. This takes up so much time that women cannot work and children cannot go school. Our clean water program raises funds to drill wells in Bihar. Each well can provide safe water for 2,000 people, and so far we have completed four wells.

Create Jobs in Bihar, India: Empower Women

When families have access to safe water, women have more time to work and provide for their families. Our empowering women program is going to train 40 women to run successful tailoring businesses and sell their products on the western market. These women already have skills in tailoring, but need an opportunity to learn business skills.

Plant Churches in Bihar, India: Spread the Gospel

We are working to bring hope through the alleviation of physical and spiritual poverty. Our church planting program funds church planters in various villages in Bihar to set up home churches, and also to go into the villages and share the gospel. At this point, we are funding four church planters, all of whom are additionally starting Bible studies and literacy training as they go. Thousands of people in Bihar are hearing the gospel for the first time, and each church planter brings the gospel to thousands more.

The moms in our lives have shaped us and taught us how to take care of the world. On Mother’s Day, celebrate these moms by giving back and fighting to end poverty.

When we fill our glasses with clear, cold water from our kitchen sinks, or even twist open a water bottle, we often don’t think about how privileged we are.

2.1 billion people live without clean water in their homes, and 1 in 9 people don’t have access to clean water at all.

You can take the opportunity this World Water Day to change that.

More than 10 percent of the world’s population can’t drink water from their pipes, and this issue affects more than just health and sanitation. When clean water is unavailable, family dynamics are impacted. Since women are usually the ones in charge of collecting water, they have to spend extra time each day walking to a drinkable water source, which can sometimes be miles away. This means the women can’t work for pay, families can’t afford to send their children to school, and a cycle of poverty continues for generations.

This is a problem in many countries, states, and villages around the world. One of these states is Bihar, India.

Bringing Clean Water to Bihar, India

In Bihar, India, where there is a women empowerment measure of .379, ranking among the top ten worst in the world, women and children spend hours daily walking miles to gather just enough water to live off of.

But Jesus’ Economy is working to change that. Jesus’ Economy has funded the drilling of four water wells in Bihar, providing 7,100 people with access to clean, safe water. Every dollar donated to this program funds the building, upkeep, and safety of the wells.

However, it doesn’t end with clean water. Following the funding of the wells, Jesus’ Economy is also working to empower women through literacy programs, business training, offering microloans, and planting churches.

Today consider becoming part of the movement to provide the basic necessity of clean water to people all over the world, which will also help families lift themselves out of poverty. Clean water can change the world.

Today is International Women’s Day, a day set aside to celebrate the achievements of women all over the world. Historically, women have not been given the same economic opportunities, especially in developing countries, as men, and while this has been changing, there is still work to be done. When women are empowered and supported so that they can provide stability for themselves and their families, poverty shrinks, hope is created, and God is glorified.

There are many ways to empower women around the world. Jesus’ Economy is working with an existing program in Bihar, India to do just this.

In Bihar, a state in extreme poverty, families are forced into a repeated cycle of poverty in which their basic needs are not met. In Bihar, a program exists to teach women tailoring and seamstress skills. Jesus’ Economy is partnering with this program to add a new, innovative business-training program. With this program, we will create sustainable jobs for the impoverished.

This is Jesus’ Economy’s Empowering Women Program.

A Program to Create Opportunity

The day Jesus’ Economy decided to launch the program is a day CEO John D. Barry will never forget. A woman placed her hands in his and wept. She said, “I can now afford to keep my kids in school, but keeping food on their plates often feels impossible. I am constantly facing the decision of whether to eat or pay for school supplies or clothing for my children. Will you pray for me and my children?” She could pay for her kids to go to school through her sewing work, which she learned via a non-profit sewing school, but her business needed a boost.

Women like this are ready to work hard to offer their children a better life; they just need the opportunity. Together, we can give them this chance for a hopeful future. Jesus’ Economy is offering graduates of the sewing program the chance to learn how to make products for a western market—as well as learn business basics and ethical business practices.

Our partner in Bihar has already taught women how to sew, but they need the additional business skills to become successful and sustainable.

Business Training Will Change the Cycle of Poverty

Our business-training program will teach 40 women how to expand their businesses. The training has two phases. First, a trainer will come in and offer a one-week training session on product development, employee management, handling accounts, and running an ethical, fair trade business.

The second phase involves hands-on product development training. This will be a two-week session that guides the women through their own product development cycle and further business ethics training. This trainer will be available for an additional 10 weeks for free consulting to the women. By the end of the training, the women will be equipped to sell high-quality products locally and on the western market. They will have moved from tailors to successful international businesswomen.

After the training, the women will be eligible for a microloan from Jesus’ Economy to purchase supplies for their expanding business. Jesus' Economy also changes the economic paradigm by becoming the guaranteed buyer of the products the women are creating. Jesus' Economy will sell these products in our fair trade shop.

Business-training ultimately fights against the cycle of poverty, and gives women hope of changing the future for generations to come.

International Women’s Day isn’t just about celebrating what women have accomplished. It is also about recognizing what we can still do to empower women and work to put an end to global poverty.

On this International Women’s Day, you can empower a woman in Bihar, India to lift her family out of poverty, and bring positive change to the world.

This article was adapted from, “Empowering Women in One of the Poorest States in the World."

Jesus' Economy is transforming lives and empowering women in Bihar, India. In a state where millions live in extreme poverty, it can seem impossible to have hope. But the people of Bihar are strong and resilient and we are coming alongside them as they lift their families and community out of poverty. 

Bihar, India has a population of nearly 104 Million. More than 54 Million of those people live in extreme poverty. Most of their food sources are dependent on the weather, which during monsoon season often means few crops. 

These families do not have enough money to provide for themselves on a basic level, and this makes for very poor living conditions.

Bihar has a women empowerment measure of .379, ranking among the top 10 worst in the world. In this state, a large percentage of the women are illiterate and jobless, and have no means to help themselves. But with our church planters providing literacy training, they have a chance at a new life. 

Many women and children spend their days walking miles to collect drinkable water. By the time they've gathered this necessity, there isn't much time left in the day for work or an education, and the cycle of poverty continues. 

To help meet the basic need of clean and safe water, Jesus' Economy has funded the drilling of four water wells. Now thousands of people have access to good water; women are able to work, and children are able to go to school. 

We have also funded four church planters. These pastors are actively sharing the gospel with hundreds of people throughout the new home churches and bringing peace to these people and their villages.

With the physical and spiritual needs being met, Jesus' Economy is now focused on long-term sustainability. Forty women in Bihar will be trained to run their own businesses so they can lift their families out of poverty. 

As part of the empowering women program, women learn the trade of creating high-quality, handmade clothing, as well as business skills and employer (fair trade) ethics.

The women will become successful businesswomen, thus able to support their families financially, and the cycle of poverty will be disrupted. Their incomes will allow for physical sustenance, and also for the opportunity for their children to go to school regularly. 

 The women of Bihar, India are immeasurably strong and full of hope for a better future.

Donate to the Empowering Women Program and help end poverty in Bihar. 

 

When our CEO, John D. Barry, traveled to Bihar, India, he met women who inspired him to start our empowering women program

The women he met were resourceful, strong, spirited, joyful, and full of hope. He witnessed their hope through trials and wanted to do something to empower them even further. Women in Bihar spend their days working hard to provide for their families but when the day comes to a close, it's still not enough. 

They walk miles to get to the nearest water well for clean water and by the time they get back home, there's barely enough time left in the day to purchase what little produce they can afford, make meals with rationing in mind, wash clothing by hand, and take care of their children. And yet, they keep going. Day after day. And still they find ways to smile. They have learned how to be content no matter their situation. 

One woman spoke to John about her hardships. She said, "I can now afford to keep my kids in school, but keeping food on their plates often feels impossible. I am constantly facing the decision of whether to eat or pay for school supplies or clothing for my children. Will you pray for me and my children?" She could pay for her kids to go to school through her sewing work, which she learned via a non-profit sewing school, but her business needed a boost.

This woman worked hard but still couldn't provide the basic needs for her family. But here she was, thankful that she could keep her kids in school and asking John to pray for her because she believed there was a way. She believed that some day she wouldn't have to constantly worry about meeting their basic needs. She had hope. 

Help us bring hope to more women in Bihar, India by donating to our empowering women program and see a community transformed.  

We cannot end extreme poverty without the church. The gospel is key to renewing our world. Here’s why.

The gospel demands action. Those actions can change entire communities. From Jesus’ very commission of the church forward, this is clear:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20 ESV).

This call to discipleship is a call to teach people to follow Jesus and his principles (compare James 1:27). Making disciples means teaching people what following Jesus really means. It means teaching integrity, honesty, and love of the hurting. It means showing them that salvation is not just a truth, but also an ideal that changes the very fabric of our world.

Jesus’ calls the Christian to represent truth and help others see the value of that truth. We are to be light in dark places (Matthew 5:15). And here’s what that has to do with poverty.

For the situation of extreme poverty to change, we need to create economic opportunities for the impoverished and fight corruption. This means real people taking real action. But it also means an ethical presence transforming communities and holding people accountable to truth.

In a single day corruption can overthrow years of good. This is why I believe that healthy churches are a core part of creating global equality. If we can provide an ethical framework through the church, there will be a stronghold against corruption. We will have people who will speak up for what’s right.

Churches can help hold people accountable to paying fair wages and not exploiting anyone. Churches can be the voice of truth. As an outside investor, I can even ask a local and healthy church to help with reporting about a business. (In fact, I personally do this now.)

We must create jobs and churches in the developing world. And we must also meet basic needs. A job doesn’t matter if I don’t have access to clean water. Where basic needs are not being met, we must give and meet them.

Global Poverty Affects Us All

What happens in our world affects us all, whether we acknowledge it or not. A desperate community in the developing world is the problem of all of us.

Desperation has created desperate people. And desperate people do desperate things. Desperation gives extremism a foothold. If you lack access to water, healthcare, education, and job opportunities, an extremist leader can come along and claim “The Americans, with all those opportunities and all that wealth, have ignored you.” The extremist can then say, “I will care for your village, if you join our cause.” And when the extremist says these words, and you’re desperate, it’s tempting to listen. 

The desperation of the globally impoverished is a desperate situation for our world. When wars rage in our world, they also rage here. Peace for one person is peace for us all.

Yes, we must fight terror. But we’re also trying to change hearts and minds. We have to fight desperation by offering better opportunities to the impoverished and outsider.

The Voiceless Are Like You and Me

I have met the voiceless of the developing world and spoken to them about their needs. I remember sitting in a circle with a group of women from extreme poverty situations in Northeast India. I remember one woman placing her hands in mine and saying, “I can now afford to keep my kids in school, but keeping food on their plates often feels impossible. I am constantly facing the decision of whether to eat or pay for school supplies or clothing for my children. Will you pray for me and my children?" She could pay for her kids to go to school through her sewing work, which she learned via a non-profit sewing school, but her business needed a boost. 

Women like this are ready to work hard to offer their children a better life; they just need the opportunity. Together, we can offer them the opportunity they deserve. We can connect them to the global marketplace.

Let’s end desperation. Let’s make a better way for our world. Let’s be the truth and light God has called us to be. Explaining this principle, Jesus said:

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house” (Matthew 5:13–15 ESV).

And is there much more to say than that?

 

Join us in our endeavor to help women become independent and build strong businesses by donating to our microloan fund

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