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Torpeki: A Story of Resiliency

The theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. The world of work, both formal and informal, is rapidly changing for women. Globalization, development and global cultural shifts for mean more women are working, earning wages for that work, and engaging in unpaid informal work in the home. Programs like ours at Women for Women International encourage women to gain skills and enter the workforce help to achieve the goal of an equitable workforce by 2030. Below is a story of Torpeki, a program participant in the Afghanistan, who recently graduated from our program and is using her new-found skills to cultivate and sell mushrooms which earns her an income to provide for her 12 children.

Before joining Women for Women International’s program last year, Torpeki and her family struggled to survive. Her parents were killed in the war and she and her husband barely escaped with their lives. In the years after the war, resources were strained and the income from her husband’s labor was not enough to feed all 12 of their children and send them all to school. To lessen the burden, two of Torpeki’s daughters were given away in marriage. This decision caused Torpeki great pain and she slipped into a depression that leeched the color from her world.

One day, her youngest daughter heard about the Women for Women International program and encouraged Torpeki to join. She says, “I saw a ray of hope in the dark and without any delay I joined the training.” Torpeki enrolled and became an active member of the program. She began learning about women’s rights, agriculture, livestock and basic hygiene information she had never known before.

Suddenly, the color came back into Torpeki’s life. She says, “This program has played a significant role in my life and now beautiful colors have come my way.” With the agriculture skills and the stipend from our program, Torpeki has started earning an income by cultivating and selling mushrooms. It does not cost much money to grow the mushrooms so it is easily manageable to make profits and earn money by selling the mushrooms. Now, Torpeki sees, “a big change in my life and I feel much better than before."

This year as we celebrate International Women’s Day, we are inspired by the bravery and commitment of women like Torpeki who seek to better their life and the lives of everyone around them.

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