International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.
International Women’s Day began in 1911 with the support of over a million people. The celebration has continued to grow around the globe, and is now celebrated on March 8th around the world.
Women play an integral role in climate actions to provide solutions to our growing environmental crisis.
With a focus on women and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, this month’s issue highlights a few women who are making a difference.
Education leads to opportunity, the first step towards equality
Education for girls and young women around the globe is critical to empower the next generation. They have a big task ahead of them finding and implementing solutions for a rapidly changing climate. Armed with knowledge they are better able to address the issues of climate change.
As girls and women gain greater knowledge, they learn new skills, become more self-confident and expand their capabilities. Education brings about an opportunity to improve their own life prospects, and the world around them.
Malala Yousafzai is the champion of fighting for education for girls. She has had an impact globally raising awareness and inspiring change.
On a local level, we have our own champion. For the past 10 years Evelind Schecter has provided a home and access to education for many young hill tribe girls who had no opportunity to escape a life of poverty. As co-founder of Warm Heart, she has had a huge impact mentoring and inspiring young girls to reach for their dreams.
These young girls arrive with little or no education, from backgrounds of abject poverty, too often having suffered from abuse. They have worked hard to overcome the odds and are succeeding, seeking and achieving higher education goals. Karakate, who just graduated, is a shining example of how education can change a life.
Karakate comes from a remote hill tribe village in the mountains near Chiang Mai. Her mother died when she was eight and she maintained the household for her father and two brothers. With alcohol and drugs derailing her father and older brother, a village leader asked if she could come to Warm Heart. She has been one of our children for seven years now.
With her passion for baking and cooking, she became an assistant cook after school and on weekends. Baking is not a common household activity in rural Thailand but she was delighted when we got a commercial oven and started making all the monthly birthday cakes
She graduated from high school and completed her associate’s degree from one of the top vocational schools in Chiang Mai. She has been out working part-time for a major petrol company – learning marketing in their service centers. Next, she’s looking for an apprenticeship with a major hotel to learn to be a professional baker.
Karakate is a natural leader. People listen to her and respect her judgment. She is smart and has always worked hard on her school work. She is a great observer and listener. She will always be there for anyone who needs her. She is also a unique individual with great optimism. She always has a way to make people around her smile. She has worked hard to follow her dream!
Young girls everywhere deserve the chance to get an education, no matter how poor they are or what circumstances they are born into.
Discover how good it feels to help a young girl escape a life of poverty. Join our Global Giving “Empower Young Girls to Achieve a Successful Career” campaign. Enjoy the feeling of knowing you are having a direct impact on the life of someone less fortunate than you.
Speaking out and being heard
Education is key to women achieving equality, especially in the environmental field. Their ideas and solutions need be valued and equally considered as their male counterparts. Greta Thornburg’s desire to learn about climate change gave her the education she needed. Armed with knowledge and understanding of the issue provided her the tools to create a tsunami of awareness around the world. She has inspired many to take climate action, NOW, not tomorrow.
Feeding a community
Sister Miriam Paulet’s story is a wonderful example of how education can have a huge impact on addressing both Goals 1 and 2, No Poverty and Zero Hunger.
Sr. Paulette wanted to find ways to help the poor, starving people in her community in Malawi, Africa. Sr. Paulette did an internet search looking for answers, and came across our site. She became interested in biochar, and how it could help her community with sustainable farming to secure their food supply.
She learned how to make and use biochar, and to her great delight had wonderful personal results. She began a campaign to teach others, because she knew this would help her community.
So far she has managed to spread the word and teach over 2,500 farmers (and growing) how to benefit from making and using biochar.
Biochar has increased crop production, animal health is improving, sustainable businesses are blooming, and as a by-product there is far less smoke being released into our atmosphere, reducing the dangerous gases that feed global warming.
The world needs more Sister Paulettes to help their communities benefit from using biochar.
Reducing Global Warming
Kwanpirom has worked for the Warm Heart Foundation since she was 17. She was hired her to be our Volunteer Coordinator. She completed her college degree from a distance learning institute while she worked for Warm Heart.
She has always been an entrepreneur, starting out as a partner with her father selling clothing at weekly markets in different towns – getting up at 3 am to make the drive and set up for the 6 am start when the locals arrived. Initially, we had to let her do the Tuesday market in Chiang Dao to get her father to release her to work for us. She continued to have side businesses (with our approval) of selling natural cosmetics and renting motorbikes.
After a few years of managing the housing, motorbikes, and visas (for 5-15 international volunteers at any one time) she said she wanted to see the world and signed up to be an au pair in the US. She took another year in a master’s program at a major Thai university in rural development.
She came back to Warm Heart when we offered her a two-year contract to be the project manager on a grant to improve the health of women and children by developing low tech biochar ovens and training local farmers in sustainable agriculture methods to stop open field burning (and the annual smoke haze that causes major health and safety problems).
She identified and negotiated with local metalworking shops to make the prototypes and production models.
She led trainings for over 1000 farmers in towns all over the province. When the government derailed a major project to help small farmers in another district, she brainstormed with local farmers on how to change the plans and adapt to the physical and economic environment.
She works harder (and smarter) than most of the people around her. She is dedicated to rural community development and to learning as much as she can about how to navigate the political-economic climate to help the marginalized to learn environmentally sustainable methods to improve their incomes and their health.
She is one of our most valued employees and we have encouraged her to take growth opportunities outside of the rural valley we work in. She is smart, always thinking of new solutions to obstacles in our way.
She has succeeded as a project manager in a society where age and status rule. She has enough knowledge as a farmer herself to get local farmers her grandfather’s age to try new approaches to farming – getting a few to test and show off to the others.
She has developed contacts within the local governments and gets invitations to present to the Provincial governor. She has recruited young talent to be trained in the new technology and farming techniques and then goes out and teach in their communities.
In 2018 she won a scholarship to go to the US with The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative. (YSEALI) to study economic development. The fellowship builds the leadership capabilities of youth in the region and promotes cross-border cooperation to solve regional and global challenges.
The work she is doing now to develop a replicable social enterprise to make and market biochar from field waste is a great example of the kind of economic development that the program fosters. It improves incomes, health outcomes and the environment in one “circular economy” program – reducing greenhouse gases and is “carbon negative”.
Aom is a true champion of climate action, she has dedicated her life to implementing a solution that actually works.
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Donate to help Warm Heart’s “Stop the Smoke” biochar project.
Warm Heart Worldwide is a registered 501.c.3 non-profit organization in the United States, our tax exemption number is 26-2059241. All donations are tax-deductible for U.S. Taxpayers.