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Education empowering women

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Education empowering women

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Education is crucial to redressing gender inequalities so we look at how women’s lives are being transformed thanks to training, teaching and some very special mentors.

We visit a radio broadcaster in Ghana, a scheme giving victims of domestic violence metal working training so they can become independent and we go to Spain to look at how formerly illiterate women are now reading Lorca.

In Ghana and across West Africa, Mama Zimbi’s programme broadcast every Wednesday is huge – virtually everyone listens to it.

Mama Zimbi uses her radio show to break down taboos and talk about subjects such as parenting, sexual disfunction and domestic violence.

Mama Zimbi works long days. Her next appointment is with one of the 300 groups of widows that her Foundation supports.

These women are socially marginalised. Often they are excluded from the job market for life, and even thrown out of their homes by their deceased spouse’s family.

The Mama Zimbi Foundation teaches skills such as breadmaking and sewing, and supplies micro-loans to help them become financially independent.

For more information see

Fatima, Atika and Asisa are survivors of domestic violence, who today are part of a women’s cooperative making belts.

For the first time, they are bringing the jewellery they have made to the market in Fez, Morocco.

Nearly 2,000 single mothers or women who had been thrown out of their marital homes came to the centre during its first year.

Training is ad-hoc and aimed at helping the women reintegrate into society.

Now, this visit to the market is the final step towards real professional independence. It is not easy, the marketplace is dominated by men. But they find one women stallholder who likes their belts and will buy them.

According to the last annual report, around 13,000 Moroccan women suffer domestic violence, most of them on a permanent basis.

In Barcelona, a school for adults runs reading clubs for them, using a new approach.

Ramón Flecha, the founder of La Verneda, explained: “As García Marquez said, teaching literature is usually based on listening but here it’s the opposite. Students here talk and discuss. It’s not just a place for listening.”

Tomi is one of their star pupils. Seven years ago, her bookshelves were empty. Today, they contain Kafka, Cervantes, James Joyce, García Marquez and Dostoyevsky. She was shy at first but now Tomi is president of a women’s association at the school and her life has changed in every way.

Marta Soler, a sociologist comments: “Because of the social transformation we see with this method, it has become an international movement. There are reading circles in Spain, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, the Czech Republic and even in some big universities like Harvard.”

For more information see this site (NB: it is Spanish)

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