The value of empowering women is well documented, showing that once educated, women will educate their children. When Xela AID arrived in the Mám Area in 1992, only 2 in 10 young people studying were women. But the times they are a changin’! We have focused on recruiting girls and women into our programs, and though hard won, are proud to maintain an average of 52-58% women across all programs. Literacy and skills training are central to the Program.
The following function together as Xela AID’s Women's Empowerment Project, launched by and honoring the memory of Emeritus Board Member Karen E. Edwards:
> All our Education programs, which at any given time, feature 52-58% women
> Women’s Health Specialty – This health care tailored to women’s needs keeps them healthy while also allowing them to plan their family through subsidized birth control strategies (pills or injections).
> Adult Literacy Program – This program helps women become more independent and productive.
> Skill Building – For women who come to the program speaking little or no Spanish, Spanish is taught. This also includes classes by local experts spanning math, computing, and budgeting to more traditional skills like weaving, knitting, needlepoint, jewelry-making, nutritious cooking, baking, hair design and more.
> Domestic Violence Prevention and Survivors Support – This important program includes individual and group therapy and legal resources for women in abusive situations or escaping abuse.
ABOUT THE PROJECT'S NAMESAKE
This project was established as a tribute to Karen E. Edwards, a Founding Member of Xela AID's Board of Directors (at left, with partner and Xela AID Board Member Emeritus Colleen Dodds). A social worker for more than three decades, during her lifetime, Karen empowered scores women to take charge of their own lives both in that capacity, and as founder of Toronto-based Cinnamon Toast Dignified Housing, a home for women in recovery from addiction. Ms. Edwards co-Founded Xela AID's Educational Scholarship Program, donated funds that secured the land upon which Xela AID's Clinic stands, co-led with Colleen optical clinics for more than a decade and consulted on the overall growth and direction of Xela AID. She passed in April of 2011, and is sorely missed. Her important work is continuing through this project.