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Gender equality and women's rights worldwide: for a self-determined and healthy life for women in need

Nothing works without women. They provide, protect, care, organize, love, laugh, comfort - no matter where in the world, women and mothers are the social backbone of almost all communities. Women are more often responsible than men for looking after children and caring for sick and elderly family members in adverse circumstances, usually putting their own needs on the back burner.

Nevertheless, women worldwide and especially in the Global South are disadvantaged in many areas of life and are particularly affected by social inequality. Conflicts, persecution and the consequences of natural disasters further exacerbate these inequalities. In crisis situations, they are among the most vulnerable groups in society. The risk of losing their lives or their livelihoods is particularly high.

In our projects, we are actively committed to women in order to promote a more just society. Let us work together to ensure that women worldwide live safe, healthy, and self-determined lives.

Your donation gives hope to women and mothers in need!

Our projects for a self-determined and healthy life for women:

Strong mothers – strong children

Inadequate healthcare during pregnancy is a global problem that primarily affects women in poor countries. As a result, many women and their children are at risk of death during childbirth or pregnancy. In order to protect women and children and ensure the well-being of entire families, comprehensive health care before, during and after birth is particularly important. Because strong mothers mean strong children. That is why we are committed to providing quality and free access to holistic healthcare for (expectant) mothers and their babies in Colombia and Thailand, among other countries. We are also committed to ensuring food security for children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. In this way, we are helping to reduce maternal and infant mortality and improve the living conditions of families.

Safety for refugee women and girls

Women and girl refugees fleeing violence often face continued violence and insecurity during their journey, leaving them at high risk of developing severe mental health problems such as trauma, depression, and anxiety. We provide shelters and psychosocial support to women and girls in Nigeria who have experienced gender-specific violence, such as forced marriage, psychological abuse, or sexual violence. Women in this context often have limited access to fundamental rights such as safety, food, health, shelter, nationality, and education. To help them become self-reliant, we also provide them with specialized training opportunities. Through the vocational trainings offered at our centers, more and more women are able to secure their livelihood. The self-generated income allows them to gain financial independence from their families and rebuild their lives.

Improved living conditions through independence

Women are still severely disadvantaged when it comes to access to financial resources and education. This creates a vicious circle: Those who are poor often receive no or inadequate education, which in turn leads to a low income. In crisis areas, however, women play a crucial role in providing for their families and rebuilding their communities. To help them escape the cycle of poverty and lead a self-determined life, we support female smallholder farmers and women-owned agribusinesses in Lebanon with training and financial support on their path to independence. The project not only strengthens the local economy, but also improves the quality of life of the women and their families. By empowering these women, we are fostering a ripple effect of positive change within their communities.

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Strong voices and stories of women from our projects:

Women in need - Interview with Global Protection Advisor Helen Hayford

One in three women worldwide is a survivor of gender-based violence. In other words, she has been subjected to violence because she is a woman. The assaults result in health problems for the girls and women, such as anxiety disorders, depression, sexually transmitted infections, etc. In addition, they are often stigmatized, shunned by their families and communities and are therefore exposed to further psychological violence even after the act of violence. Why is it so important to focus on women and girls in our work? Helen Hayford, who works as Global Protection Advisor at Malteser International, will answer this question and more in this interview. 

Find out more in our interview

Lurajis' path to a brighter future in Colombia

The sheer number of Venezuelans in Colombia has overwhelmed the country’s healthcare system, making it difficult for refugees to receive the necessary healthcare they require. Women and children in remote areas like La Guajira are particularly affected. Lujaris del Carmen Báez Fernández, a pregnant woman from Venezuela, is grateful for the medical and nutritional assistance she and her one-year-old son receive from Malteser International. This support has given Lujaris hope for a better future for her family.

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From womb to world - two stories from mothers in a refugee camp in thailand

28-year-old Eh Nee K'Mwee Paw and 32-year-old Naw Tae Paw are well aware that pregnancy and childbirth can be associated not only with the joy of new life, but also with concerns about illness and death. Both women share the experience of pregnancy in a refugee camp in Thailand. Both women know the daunting worry for the life of their child and their own lives. The stories of Eh Nee K'Mwee Paw and Naw Tae Paw and their babies have a happy ending - thanks to thorough healthcare before, during and after birth in Malteser International's health facility.  

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Back to life - a safe haven for women and girls in Nigeria

Refugee women and girls are exposed to particular dangers, such as sexualized violence. Even everyday activities such as fetching water or going to the toilet can put displaced women and girls at risk of abuse. "One of Malteser International's most effective initiatives was to set up a safe space for women like me. The safe space provides a refuge from violence and a platform for sharing where we can voice our concerns without fear of judgment or retribution. We receive counseling and psychosocial support here," says Fatuma.

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Start-up support for women entrepreneurs in agricultural production in Lebanon

In Lebanon, many families have to earn extra money to secure their livelihoods. Malteser International, together with its local partner organization the Order of Malta Lebanon, supports agricultural businesses run by women. Jacquelinde, Saada and Alia from the Akkar region in the north of Lebanon, for instance, received new equipment to improve their production and expand their businesses.

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Bridging gaps in pregnancy care through community outreach

19-year-old mother of two from Bangladesh tells her story

One day in December, Koli noticed that her period had stopped - a worrying situation given the circumstances of her life. Unable to afford a pregnancy test, she spent her days in anxious anticipation. It was during this time that a Community Health Worker visited her home, introducing her to the healthcare services provided by the health facility, run by Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK) in partnership with Malteser International. Feeling encouraged, Koli reached out to our health facility, the Amjakhali Community Clinic, for assistance.

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Nur Kaida: “Never let your circumstances define you“ – a pregnancy in the biggest refugee camp in the world

When Nur Kaida discovered that she was pregnant, it came as a shock to her. She did not know how to provide for two children and was overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty. To cope, she began to reduce her own intake of food. It was fortunate that a Community Health Worker from our partner organization Gonoshasthaya (GK) Kendra visited Nur Kaida's home in this situation.

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Learn more about our work:

Menstruation: health and education

Every day, an estimated 300 million people menstruate. And yet menstruation is still a taboo topic worldwide.

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A global problem: Maternal and child mortality

Maternal mortality is declining. But still, a pregnant woman dies every two minutes worldwide. The causes are manifold

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