Poverty & Social Justice

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"My daughter returns from far away, a true miracle," repeats Adama Issaka without ceasing. She caresses and holds her daughter Firdaoussou tightly. They look each other in the eyes for a long time then both break out in laughter.

Firdaoussou is 2 years old and has returned from far away. She has spent nearly half of her life fighting death from malnutrition. She won this fight and now gets to celebrate it every day with her mother in this touching complicity, imbued with smiles, winks and tenderness.

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My name is Dhan Bahadur Pariyar. I was born 35 years ago into an untouchable-caste family. I live with my 65-year-old father Mate, my 70-year-old mother Mangali, wife Suk Maya and Subash, who is 7.

When I was young, my family grew crops on our land, which was less than half an acre and could only meet our food needs for three months of the year. I left school in the fifth grade to earn money so that we could eat for the other nine months.

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Two dollars’ worth of potato seed and fertilizer, an unused corner of her husband’s field, a successful harvest. These are a few of the factors behind Marie Goretti Nyabenda’s claim: “I am the happiest woman in the world.”

Goretti, a 34-year-old from a remote hillside in northern Burundi, netted $4.70 from her potato harvest in 2007. She used this money to rent a market stall and stock it with bananas and peanuts. Her profits were enough to buy a goat, which soon had a kid.

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Bouvanna Nhem crosses a river during her 8-mile hike to school. Arriving late and out of breath, it's hard to concentrate in class. Making the long trek each day wears her out. For Bouvanna, the daughter of a poor farming family in Cambodia's remote Ratanakiri province, school seems to be slipping further out of reach. She eventually drops out because of the distance and cost of secondary education.

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In 1998, CARE worked with 25 institutions in Peru to help pass a law that promoted universal basic education for girls. The law helped to address gender discrimination as well as ensuring that more resources for education reached rural areas of the country. By working with local civic groups, CARE helped to ignite a national movement to broaden girls’ access to basic education.

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