2020 vision: 12 pictures of hope

By: 
CARE
Angeline (left), a village water pump mechanic, with her colleagues in Zimbabwe

January

Angeline (above left) is from Chivi District in Zimbabwe – one of the areas enduring the worst drought Zimbabwe had seen in a decade. As a volunteer village pump mechanic, Angeline travels from village to village repairing broken-down boreholes and water pumps. She said:

People are suffering every day because there is no water in this area. People are going far away for water. That is why we had to fix the borehole to make sure people could get water.

Sometimes without knowledge, you look at the borehole and think you can’t fix it. But when you get practical experience, you learn about the ways to fix the boreholes.

It is my hope that I will be able to make use of this skill and make an income and send my children to school. There are no solutions if you don’t earn money. But if you can earn some money, you can still buy food, even if your crops fail.

February

Women farmers in a field in Mozambique
Women farmers in Mozambique

Mozambique is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events such as drought, floods and cyclones. When Cyclone Idai slammed into Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe in March 2019, the storm and subsequent flooding destroyed more than 700,000 hectares of crops.

Since then, CARE has distributed drought-resistant seeds, including sorghum, cowpea, ground nuts, pineapple seedlings, maize and millet, to more than 47,000 small scale farmers. We also provided training in improved agricultural practices to help communities combat the effects of unpredictable weather and improve their crop yields.

March

Celebrities leading the #March4Women march in London, 2020
Celebrities heading the #March4Women march for gender equality and climate justice in London on International Women’s Day

Taking place before the government introduced restrictions on public gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic, our annual #March4Women event brought thousands together to call for gender justice and climate justice. In her rousing speech to the crowds at Parliament Square, Scarlett Westbrook, 15-year-old climate activist, said:

As long as we don’t act, more natural disasters will occur resulting in more women dying, being displaced or exploited.

Maja Antoine-Onikoyi read from her poem:

Understand our urgency as suggestions turn to demands; as we command the men in power to step aside; to let a woman sit at the table where the big boys make the decisions about the world we all live in.

April

Daniel Chanda and family in Zambia
Daniel Chanda with his family in Shiwang'andu District, Zambia

Daniel Chanda, a Male Gender Champion taking part in the Southern African Nutrition Initiative, says:

As a male champion, I learned many things, including about the 1,000 most critical days, the importance of iron, and promoting exclusive breast-feeding for the first six months of a baby’s life, and complementary feeding from the age of 6-24 months.

Before I went for training with CARE, I was already helping my wife with cooking and cleaning. After the training, I was able to actively promote to others why helping with house chores is important during pregnancy. Now I don’t worry about being laughed at, and I am not worried that people will think my wife has poisoned my mind!

I have reached out to 10 men for the Male Action Group. It is quite difficult to reach out to men. However, when I use the daily activity clock, they realise how much more work women do.

May

Alexandra and Andy, wearing face masks, kissing
Alexandra (left) and Andy (right), an LGBTQI+ couple living in Guayaquil, Ecuador

Andy Abad and Alexandra Benavides, both 36 years old, live in Guayaquil, Ecuador, one of the cities in Latin America worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. CARE’s response to the pandemic in Ecuador included cash distributions; hygiene kits; food kits; social, legal, psychosocial support through telephone hotlines; and GBV prevention and support and virtual psychosocial support to persons with COVID-19. With financial support from CARE, Alexandra and Andy were able to start a small business making humitas (steamed fresh corn tamales). Andy says:

I am grateful for CARE because this support is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Read more here: COVID-19: Heartbreak and hope for LGBTQI+ couple in Ecuador

June

Women wearing facemasks processing peanut oil, Niger
Women preparing to process peanuts in Maradi, Niger

Members of a VSLA (village savings and loan association) in Niger say:

The coronavirus has affected our lives economically. The hardest part is food every day. We are barely getting two meals a day. If work does not resume soon it will become even more complicated for all of us.

Processing the peanuts and selling peanut paste or peanut oil will bring a small income at a time of economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

July

Sekongo Dieneba, a shea butter producer in the Ivory Coast
Sékongo Dieneba, a shea butter producer from Dahokaha, a small village in the north of the Ivory Coast

Sékongo Dieneba’s shea butter business is growing. She has recently quadrupled her production output and is the main breadwinner in her family. Her income pays for her six children’s schooling and supplies. She says:

I really suffered when I was little. We grew up hungry. I didn’t go to school because our father couldn’t afford it.

I don't want my children to suffer like I did when I was a child. I want my children to succeed. I want my business to grow.

Sékongo is part of a women’s saving group in her village called ‘Yébê Yégnon’. She says: “In large part, it is because of women that many of the children in this village go to school.”

I’m very proud to work together in our group. We are a team, we do everything together. It’s thanks to my group that I feel we have really advanced.

A woman must get up and fight. It’s very important for my female sisters to carry out an activity that brings her an income, she must be responsible and autonomous. What a man does, a woman can do just as well. When you start you will encounter difficulties, even conflicts, within your household, but you should not be discouraged. Stay focused on your goals and believe in yourself. When you succeed the same ones who were trying to discourage you will be on your side.

August

CARE staff in Beirut
The CARE team working on food distributions after the blast in Beirut, Lebanon

Less than 48 hours after the explosion that hit Beirut on Tuesday August 4th, CARE – working with our local partner organisations – was distributing food parcels and hot meals to affected families in the most devastated neighbourhoods of the city.

September

Delder Begum pouring water into an oil drum, Bangladesh
Delder Begum pouring water into a fire drum

Three years after Rohingya people started fleeing in their hundreds of thousands from violence in Myanmar, the refugees living in camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, are working hard to improve their situation. Delder Begum (above) is one of the most active members of the Women Disaster Management Volunteers of Camp 14, where CARE Bangladesh provides the site management. She has received training in disaster management – preparing for and responding to anything from monsoon floods to fires – and first aid. She says:

When I fled Myanmar, I was only 25. But the last three years have matured me beyond time and redefined the meaning of life altogether. I am still trying to come to terms with the loss of my husband and sons but I find solace in contributing to my community here.

I feel so happy to see my daughter resume her education. I want her to complete her education and become a good leader.

October

Women making soap, Niger
Members of the Kyaotatama Diya Mata savings group in Maradi, Niger, making soap

Aichatou Sitou, president of the Kyaotatama Diya Mata savings group in Maradi, Niger, says:

COVID had closed doors for us, but it has also opened others.

The women members of the VSLA are now generating a new income by producing soap and facemasks so people in the community can protect themselves from COVID-19. Nousseyba Mounirou (centre of photo above), general secretary of the group, says:

Before the coronavirus we already made this liquid soap, but with the arrival of COVID-19 we ramped up production. We sell to small traders and shopkeepers in the market. But we also bring some home to place in front of our houses with the hand washing kit. Within the group, with the soap we earn a good income. So there has been progress.

November

Activists protesting against rape in a city street in Nepal
Activists in Nepal holding a street protest against gender-based violence

On the 8th of November, a group of activists led by 18-year-old Pooja Teli held a street demonstration against rape – the first such demonstration in Bhairahawa, a city in the western part of Nepal. There were girls and women covered all in black, carrying slogans, banners and performing on the streets.

Pooja was inspired by her experience with a girls' group that she joined as part of CARE's Tipping Point programme, which seeks to empower girls and boys to learn about and speak up against gender-based discrimination in their communities. Pooja says:

I have been able to be a leader, to use my voice for the voiceless! In the coming days, I wish to organize an anti-rape programme in my village too. That would be a big achievement for me.

December

Malak smiling, Yemen
Malak, aged 12, pictured at her home in Taiz, Yemen

Malak is only 12 years old. Her country, Yemen, has been devastated by civil war, by drought and food shortages, and now by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet Malak has not lost hope.

Malak was among people in her community in Taiz, Yemen, who received training from CARE health worker, Samah, on how to keep safe during the pandemic. Malak says:

I learnt how to wash my hands in the correct way, to put distance between me and other people and to cover my mouth and nose with a mask. Since then I’ve been teaching my friends how to wash their hands correctly.

I am so proud of myself because I am spreading awareness. My friends are so happy about what I do. Now they also teach others.

We are all heroes. We can all defeat coronavirus with these simple little steps. Then we’ll go back to school and fulfil our dreams.

I hope war stops and we build huge schools and hospitals. And I wish that my country will become the most beautiful in the world.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.