Women leading change
How child sponsorship is changing lives
Making a difference to communities around the world
By sponsoring a child, you are part of a special global network that is working together with women, girls, men and boys to help change lives in hundreds of communities across the world.
Child sponsorship benefits whole communities, but no community can truly prosper when half its citizens are denied their rights.
Support through child sponsorship means that women and girls can unlock their full potential, changing the lives of everyone including men and boys.
Choose a country from the menu above or simply scroll down to see fantastic examples of how our amazing child sponsors are helping women improve their lives and making even more of a difference to their families and communities.
In rural Afghanistan, many women like Shukria have few opportunities to earn their own income and are unaware they have the right to be financially independent.
But this situation is changing thanks to child sponsors like you. Through her local ActionAid women’s group, mother-of-six Shukria was trained in poultry rearing and received 10 chickens along with the feed and equipment needed to rear healthy hens. She is now selling over 200 eggs a month, providing her with a valuable income to support her family.
Before, I couldn’t afford to buy my children’s school books and uniforms. But now I can buy them everything they need by selling eggs. I am happy that my children can now be educated.”
For a long time, Rawshonara (45), who lives in a village in Bangladesh, had no land to grow food and struggled to feed and educate her children.
Through a local ActionAid community group, Rawshonara and more than 100 women learned about their rights to own land. After lobbying their local government, they received the land, seeds and training they were entitled to. Rawshonara now grows rice and vegetables, providing vital income and food for her children.
I can now provide for my family’s needs. My children eat regular meals and I am sending them to school. I also save a small amount each month for our future. Thank you for showing me the way to a better life.”
Due to climate change, many families in north east of Brazil struggle to grow enough to feed their children.
Through her local ActionAid women’s group, 33-year-old Marilia learned how to establish a vegetable garden with an irrigation system that uses harvested rainwater. Marilia, along with other women in her group, now grow a variety of vegetables that provide good nutrition for their children, as well as an income.
My backyard vegetable garden is a dream. I can now maintain a better standard of living for my family. Working with the women in my group, we have discovered that together we are stronger.”
Due to increasingly erratic rainfall in Burundi, many families are struggling to grow enough to feed their children more than one meal a day.
Through her local ActionAid farming group, mother of two, Anitha (26) learned valuable climate-resilient farming techniques and received irrigation equipment, a goat to provide manure, and drought-resistant seeds. She also helped train a further 400 farmers to improve their harvests.
Food production has more than doubled. My children now have enough to eat and no longer get sick from a lack of nutrition. For the first time I am able to provide everything my children need to flourish.”
Rice farming is the main source of food and income in rural Cambodia. But due to unpredictable rainfall and limited farming skills, many people are struggling to grow enough food.
For 57-year-old Rai, the provision of quality seeds and irrigation systems, as well as training in better farming techniques means that her harvests are improving and providing vital income and food for her family.
I now grow enough vegetables to feed my family and sell at the market to cover our other expenses. The training I received means I can help others to grow more food. The future of my family and community is good.”
Democratic Republic of Congo
Like many women living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 46-year-old Antoinette was totally reliant on her husband and wasn't aware she had a right to earn her own income.
After receiving training from her local ActionAid women’s group, Antoinette started her own business selling second-hand clothes. Using her profits, she now pays her children’s school expenses on time, is able to buy more food and has even built the family a new house.
Helping my husband support our family has given me confidence. I now speak out at community meetings and have been made president of my women’s group. I can help change more lives like mine.”
Emebet (32), who lives in a small village in Ethiopia, had been struggling to harvest even just one crop a year due to the lack of rainfall in her region.
The installation of a new irrigation system by ActionAid means that Emebet no longer has to wait for the rain to farm and can harvest a wider variety of crops at least three times a year.
We can now feed ourselves all year round and the increased income covers all my children’s school expenses. My eldest children have now finished school and are living independent lives thanks to their education. With our improved living conditions, my life is now bright.”
Lamisi (31), based in a small village in Ghana, used to rely on her husband to provide for her and her family until he became ill.
Through her local ActionAid women’s group, Lamisi learned how to breed goats and received one male and two female goats to get started.
She also agreed, along with the other women in the group, that she would pass on the first offspring to another woman in need. Any further offspring would be hers to sell to provide a vital income.
I am extremely happy to be part of this life-changing project. My husband was seriously ill and couldn’t work. But I was able to sell one of the new offspring to pay for his treatment and now he is well.”
In Guatemala, it’s widely believed that if a woman earns money, her husband will lose control over her. Therefore, Juana was unable to make decisions about her own life or the lives of her four children. But these beliefs are being challenged thanks to child sponsors like you.
Juana (35) learned to weave as a child but couldn’t earn a living from her skill. When she joined her local ActionAid women’s group, she received training to produce quality textiles and marketing skills to sell them. As a result, she gained the confidence to become financially independent.
Being part of this women’s group has created lots of opportunities for me to learn and earn my income. I am happy that I can now provide for my children.”
Rising temperatures and prolonged droughts in Haiti, means many people are struggling to feed their families. Saintelyse (51), a vegetable farmer in Haiti found her crops failing during a severe drought.
The provision of quality seeds that are suited to the Haitian climate, as well as training in better farming techniques by ActionAid, means that Saintelyse can now harvest a variety of vegetables at least three times a year, providing vital food for her family.
I was deeply affected by how powerless I was when our crops failed because of drought. It is a great relief to me that I can now provide enough food for my family.”
Due to unreliable rainfall and overuse of the soil in several parts of rural India, many people are struggling to grow enough to support their families.
Through her local ActionAid women’s group, Jagrani (45) learned climate resilient farming techniques. By using manure to enrich the soil, special water conservation methods and drought resistant seeds her situation has changed.
For the first time, farming provides my family with a proper livelihood. The children and grandchildren have plenty of nutritious food and my husband no longer has to migrate away to find work.”
In a small province of Kenya, the installation of a new irrigation system by ActionAid means women like 24-year-old Esther no longer have to wait for the rain to farm and can harvest a wider variety of crops all-year-round.
I am a happy mother to have water on my doorstep. I now grow enough fruit and vegetables to feed my family and to sell each week at the market. With my additional income, I started fish farming and chicken rearing, providing more nutritious food for my child.”
Many women in the villages of Liberia lack the skills and support to earn their own income. Young mothers like 33-year-old Mamie, who didn’t go to school, face even more of a struggle providing for themselves and their children.
Through an ActionAid women’s support group, Mamie learned how to earn a living from growing crops. By learning new farming techniques, as well as marketing and business skills, Mamie is now proud to be financially independent.
I am very happy to have my own farm. Today, my life is so different. I can sell my produce and pay for my children’s food and education without anyone’s help. We all have a much brighter future.”
Mother-of-six, Rhoda (37) from a small district in Malawi was unaware of her right to earn her own income and was totally reliant on her husband.
After receiving training and a loan from her local ActionAid women’s group, Rhoda started her own business rearing pigs. Using her profits, she bought a solar panel so her children could study at night. The solar panel provided her with an additional income as people began paying her to charge their mobile phones.
I can now provide for all my children’s needs and they always have enough food. I’ve also bought a motorbike so we can travel to the market, hospital and community meetings easily. I have become an independent woman."
Farmers like Salima (43), who live in rural Mozambique, work hard all year round to grow food for their families. But only growing maize and rice each year meant the fertility of her farm soil had eroded. Harvests have been getting smaller and food becoming scarce.
Through her local ActionAid women’s group, Salima received training on how to enrich the soil with natural fertilisers and diversify her crops. By growing a variety of vegetables and fruit, Salima can now provide vital, nutritious food for her children.
I’m now growing more crops including cabbage, carrots, bananas, avocados and pineapples. My children’s health has improved and I sell any surplus crops to pay for their school materials.”
Due to a lack of resources, 38-year-old Win struggled to grow enough crops to feed her children. But her situation has changed thanks to child sponsorship.
Through her local ActionAid women’s group, Win was able to borrow a small loan to buy pigs to rear. Pigs provide excellent manure, which allowed Win to start growing a wider variety of crops, including fruit and vegetables.
I am very happy to be part of the women’s group. Together, we are making changes. We can feed our children and provide them with all they need for school.”
Jansara (37), who lives in a small village in Nepal, has been unable to grow crops in recent years due to a change in the climate.
Through her local ActionAid farming group, Jansara helped establish a community seed bank to safely store good-quality, drought-resistant seeds for all local farmers to use. She also received training to manage the seed bank and promote sustainable agriculture. Now, mother-of-four Jansara and more than 400 local farmers can grow food all year round.
I now have enough food for my family and we all lead much healthier lives. I’m also earning money from selling my seeds. I no longer have to worry about paying for my children’s education."
Falilat (22) was financially dependent on her husband, who eked a living out of farming. She was frustrated by their lack of income and struggled to feed and clothe her young children.
However, after receiving training from her local ActionAid women’s group, Falilat started her own business making and selling soap. Now, for the first time in her life, she is financially independent.
Since starting my own business, I can say that I am providing for all my children’s needs. I will be able to cover their expenses when they start school. I am also saving to open a shop in my village. I am finally seeing my dreams come true.”
Occupied Palestinian territory
Lina, 37, who lives in the occupied Palestinian territory, had very limited access to healthcare. Her local health centre was rarely open and had no proper medicine or trained doctors working there.
Through her local ActionAid community group, Lina and her fellow members were supported to lobby the health department for more resources. Their campaign resulted in a doctor joining their centre two days a week and the regular replenishing of medical supplies – providing critical basic healthcare to more than 2,000 people.
I am proud of being part of something that helps save lives in my community."
Many girls in Rwanda drop out of school because their parents can’t afford to pay the fees. This happened to 21-year-old Marie Rose, who lives in a small village in Rwanda, leaving her unable to find a job.
Through a local ActionAid women’s group, 30 young women, including Marie Rose, were trained in sewing and tailoring, as well as business skills and marketing.
Through the group, I learned that women like me have the right to earn their own income. I was happy to train as a seamstress so I could have my own business. I can now support myself as well as helping my mum pay my younger siblings’ school fees.”
Dieynaba, 37, who lives in a small, rural town in Senegal, relies on peanut farming for her food and income. But due to lack of rain, she was struggling to harvest enough peanuts to support her family.
Through child sponsorship, Dieynaba received seeds that are well-suited to the Senegal climate and basic irrigation equipment, as well as vegetable gardening training. She is now growing a variety of vegetables and improving her peanut harvest, meaning she can provide food for her three children.
My new income has also enabled me to open a grocery shop in my village. Being financially independent is giving my children a better future.”
Isata (45) lives in a village in Sierra Leone. Farming is her main source of food and income but she has struggled to grow enough crops to pay for her children’s schooling.
Through her local ActionAid group, Isata was trained in livestock rearing, including basic veterinary skills. She also received six nanny goats, three billy goats and 10 chickens. Goats, chickens and eggs sell well in her community and the sale of a pair of young goats can pay one child’s school expenses for a year.
I am more than happy to be rearing livestock. I am seeing much improvement in our lives.”
Shamsa (50) from western Somaliland depended on her husband to provide money to feed her children. But there was never enough.
After receiving a loan and training from her local ActionAid women’s group, Shamsa started her own business rearing goats.
I used to struggle feeding my children twice a day. But now with the profits I make from selling my goats, my children have three meals a day, including vegetables and some meat. Life is on the up for us all. I have even been made chairperson of my women’s group so I can help more women change their lives.”
Mashila, who lives in a small village in South Africa had been struggling to sustain her farm due to rising temperatures.
But through her local ActionAid community group, Mashila received a pair of breeding goats. She was also trained how to rear and sell them so she can buy food for the family and pay for her grandchild’s school expenses.
My greatest motivation is my grandchild. Rearing goats provides me with the means to take care of my family and to make an honest living. I take good care of my goats because they take good care of me and my family.”
In a small village in Tanzania, 40-year-old Pili and other local women relied heavily on maize farming for their food. But due to poor climate conditions, their crops did not thrive.
Through her local ActionAid community group, Pili learned how to grow drought-resistant crops and reduce her dependence on maize and sorghum, which are increasingly hard to grow in Tanzania’s changing climate. She was also provided with seeds, including groundnuts, peas and beans.
With my new farming skills, I can grow a variety of food that provides a good source of protein for my children. I am also helping other women to improve their farming activities.”
In The Gambia, climate change is seriously affecting harvests for farmers like Juma (50), who depend on farming for their food and income. They are struggling to harvest just one crop a year and provide enough food for their children.
Through child sponsorship, Juma was trained in traditional cloth dying, as well as small-business skills, to help her earn an income and reduce her family’s reliance on farming.
I am earning a good income from selling my tie-dyed cloth. I can buy food and pay for my children’s education. I have even bought some livestock, renovated our house and had a water tap installed. I have changed our lives completely.”
Grace (50) who lives in a small village in Uganda was unaware of the possibilities of earning her own income. Like many women in Uganda, she relied on her husband to provide for her family.
However, after receiving training, seeds and livestock from her local ActionAid group, Grace started her own business growing groundnuts and rice, and rearing chickens, cows and goats.
Before I joined the group, I was totally dependent on my husband, I am happy that I’m now an independent woman and earning my own income, which pays for my grandchildren’s school fees and all the family’s medical bills.”
In rural Vietnam, many women like Thi Liem (21) rely on making and selling their own local products to earn an income. But they rarely make enough to help them support their families.
Through her local ActionAid community group, Thi Liem was trained in marketing and business skills so she could sell her herbal muscle pain ointment with more success. ActionAid also organised a product fair where Thi Liem and hundreds of other women promoted their products.
Thanks to the training, my sales have increased. I have more customers, including tourists. My income means I am financially independent and can equally support my family with my husband.”
Mother-of-five Connie, from a small village in Zambia, relied on maize farming for a number of years before her crops started to fail. She struggled to grow enough to feed her family and pay for her children’s schooling.
Through her local ActionAid farming group, Connie (48) learned valuable climate-resilient farming techniques including the use of irrigation systems, drought-resistant seeds and homemade compost.
I used to just plant maize every year and harvest very little. But now I am growing plenty of potatoes and other vegetables. My family have enough to eat and with the money I earn selling my crops, I can buy everything my children need for school."
Idah (54) wanted to earn her own income independent from her husband.
After receiving training from her local ActionAid women’s group, Idah joined forces with other women in the group to start a business selling blankets and kitchen utensils.
This joint venture was very successful and using her profits, Idah started her own business making school uniforms. She now pays for all her children’s and grandchildren’s school expenses.
I no longer have to beg my husband for money to buy my family’s basic needs. I’m now encouraging other women to earn their own income."
Thank you for changing the lives of women and children
Thanks to our amazing child sponsors, women across the world are benefiting from new farming techniques, setting up small businesses, and becoming financially independent. They are leading the way in making positive changes in their families and communities.
The stories above are fantastic examples of the difference women can make when they are empowered. Thank you!
All photos by ActionAid