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India is home to 1.2 billion people, yet one out of every three girls growing up here will not finish primary school, and 40% of its adults cannot read or write. You can give a child an education and a happy childhood by sponsoring a child in one of our 34 SOS Children's Villages in India. … more about our charity work in India

Making it happen for women and girls

Today, we're shouting about why we all need to make gender equality happen
Today, we're shouting about why we all need to make gender equality happen

This year, International Women's Day is all about making it happen – and we're proud to support a goal which is close to our hearts at SOS Children. Every day, we make it happen for women and girls in communities where discrimination and marginalisation can make things tough.

Today, we are shouting about how we are making the communities where we work a better place for girls to grow up – and why we all need to make gender equality happen if we want to live in a fairer, more prosperous world.

Uma's story: Jobs for women in India

27-year-old Uma is a mother of three young girls. When we met her, she and her husband were at a loss – they worked as farm labourers, but they didn't earn enough money to care for their children. When they lost their jobs, things became even harder – until Uma joined the SOS community programme in Nagapattinam. We trained her in pottery and today she earns a living running her own business.

See how her life has been transformed:

Find out more about our work in India...

Watch our girl power presentation!

Girls matter to us, and much of our work focuses on creating better opportunities for the next generation. Here are six ways we're making a difference:

Empowering women in the Gambia

Last year, our team in the Gambia began an ambitious project designed to transform the role of women in a number of deprived communities in rural Foni Jarrol district, where gender inequality is entrenched.

What's the background?

The national director of SOS Gambia plays with children on a visit to Bakoteh

We began by speaking to women in the region – and the findings say it all. Two thirds were married before they reached adulthood, nearly half of them by force. Almost every woman had undergone female genital cutting before her 16th birthday, and nearly one in ten had been raped.

So embedded is this way of life that few women oppose the status quo. Nearly three quarters of Gambian women aged 18-49 believe it is acceptable for a husband to beat his wife for burning the food or leaving the house without permission. Our survey in Foni Jarrol suggested that rape is very rarely reported to the police.

What will the project achieve?

Not only do these women suffer abuse and relatively poor quality of life, they also raise girls into an environment where opportunities for development and prosperity are severely limited. We believe that the whole community will benefit if women were able to raise their children in a more nurturing setting.

We will:

  • Create better awareness of women's rights
  • Reduce violence against women and improve the reporting of violence
  • Reduce the practice of genital cutting
  • Enable women to run their own businesses
  • Create better networks and support groups

How will we achieve this?

We have selected a group of 100 single mothers most in need of support.

Today, we are:

  • Two girls from a Children's Village in GuetamalaWorking with these women to give them a better understanding of their rights
  • Training them in the skills they need to run their own businesses
  • Providing cash injections to help get them started
  • Helping them set up cooperative groups to support their business initiatives

Learn more about the Foni Jarrol project...

How can I help?

If International Women's Day has inspired you to make a difference, why not sponsor a girl in one of the 125 countries where we work? Find out more about child sponsorship, or – if you're ready – click the button below to sponsor now:

Sponsor a child now