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Empowering women empowers humanity!

Women are powerful beings. We really do have the ability to change the world. Did you know a child born to a mother who can read is 50 per cent more likely to survive past the age of five and go on to receive an education? Or that if women farmers had the same access to tools and credit that men do, there would be up to 150 million fewer hungry people in the world today?

It`s clear we still have a long way to go. Not one country in the world has achieved gender equality. But things are changing. ChildFund has the opportunity to work with women who are helping to make a difference for themselves, their families and their communities every day. On International Women`s Day, we are sharing some of their inspiring stories.

Helen Michael (pictured above) is a mother-of-eight living in one of the most dangerous cities in the world, Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. In 2011 her life changed forever when she had her bottom lip bitten off by a male assailant in a random, violent attack. Despite her horrific injuries, Helen has not been silenced. She is now a well-known advocate against gender-based violence in PNG, even speaking on the issue at PNG`s Parliament House in November 2014.

“I don`t want violence against women today,” says Helen. “I want these women who are experiencing this violence to come out, and we can join our hands and we can fight for our women`s rights.”

Hannan lives in Ethiopia`s capital, Addis Ababa. Herself blind, she is working with ChildFund Ethiopia to ensure children like 10-year-old Netsanet (above) have the chance to reach their full potential. Growing up in a rural village in Ethiopia, she knows she would never have received an education if she had not had the opportunity to attend a special school for the blind. Now she wants to ensure the next generation of Ethiopian children living with disability get the support they deserve.

“It is my vision to see my fellow citizens lead a life free from discrimination and poverty. If we truly have a child`s best interest in mind, we must not fail to include children with disability,” says Hannan. “They deserve to have the opportunity to grow, develop and enjoy their childhood by exercising the same rights as everyone.”

Halma is a community health volunteer working with ChildFund Kenya to help children and families affected by HIV and AIDS. Halima makes home visits every day to ensure these families have a safety net to build a more hopeful future.

She loves her work because she knows exactly how hard it is. Halima, a single mother of four, has also taken in her sisters` three children after she passed away from an AIDS-related illness. All three children are HIV-positive.

“I have my drive because people in the community listen to me,” says Halima. “I have a deep desire to see them grow and lead better lives.”

23-year-old Lao Khang was born in Nonghet district in rural northern Laos. After dropping out of school at just 13 to help her parents on their small farm, the direction of her life seemed set. That was until she was introduced to rugby through ChildFund Laos` sport for development program.

Three years on, she has represented her country as part of the National Women`s Rugby team and has been awarded a global Athletes in Excellence Award. But most importantly, Lao is now a role model for girls and women in Nonghet.

“As a girl I was always very shy. Now I am a brave and confident young woman. Before I began playing rugby I only knew people in my small village. Now I have friends all around the world,” says Lao. “I want to help involve as many Lao girls and women from rural and remote communities as possible in rugby so they too can feel brave and strong.”

Millions of individual women just like Helen, Hannan, Halima and Lao are empowering change for themselves, their families, their communities and even their countries all around the world. On International Women`s Day, let`s come together to celebrate every woman doing their bit to empower humanity.

Celebrate with us online using #IWD2015. Don`t forget to @ChildFundAU! 

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