These three featured Cooperation Circles, located in India, Guatemala, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, are working towards the common cause of uplifting and empowering women to improve life for all members of their respective communities. Through interfaith understanding, discussion, and communication, women gain the education and training to advance their vocations in addition to forming lasting networks of support and friendship. These Cooperation Circles are working for women’s equality as well as the equality of all community members regardless of faith, spirituality, culture, or tradition.
Mahila Chetna Kendra, Dera Village, New Delhi, India
Mahila Chetna Kendra CC brings together women from Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Jain communities in order to pursue vocational training programs and economic empowerment. Not only does this provide women with an opportunity to gain more independence in their daily lives and pursue career options other than household activities, but it also brings women of different traditions together to promote understanding and cooperation through friendship. Currently, this Cooperation Circle is working in a cluster of 41 villages where women face poor health care and low literacy rates. Mahila Chetna Kendra encourages women to empower themselves by providing the computer application education necessary for self-employment, as well as training in the beautician and tailoring industries.
Alianza por la Espiritualidad, Maya Q’eqchi’, Mopán e Itzaj–APEM- CC, San Benito, Peten, Guatemala
Alianza por la Espiritualidad, Maya Q’eqchi’, Mopán e Itzaj–APEM- CC, in San Benito, Peten, Guatemala, works with women to improve domestic economy, as well as working to improve intercultural and bilingual education in learning centers. Bridging Mayan and nonindigenous communities, this Cooperation Circle works with women in Peten, Guatemala by providing training and skills in the agriculture and crafts industries, such as making fabric and cooking utensils. With increased economic equality, the CC aims to eradicate violence and large inequalities among local communities to build mutual respect for women and community members of all faiths and traditions. One of the biggest project goals is bringing together Catholic, Evangelical, and Indigenous communities to mutually respect each other’s cultures and beliefs.
Misericorde Association, Minembwe, South Kivu-Democratic Republic of Congo
Because the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has left many widows and orphans in need of support, Misercorde Association focuses its efforts on helping the victims of war. The Cooperation Circle aims to help community members reconstruct their lives by giving orphans the opportunity and means to return to school and by educating widows in tailoring so that they can support themselves. The CC emphasizes education and discussion around topics like marriages, teenage pregnancies, HIV, AIDS, and other reproductive health issues. In addition, Misercorde Association helps victims of war build networks of support to encourage peace building, environmental protection, and interfaith cooperation among the Muslim, Catholic and Protestant faiths present in the community, so that the process of forgiveness and healthy community building can occur.