Fierce Dignity & The Courage to Take a Stand
“Being a mother takes us to the edge of ourselves and back. It is a journey of hope and sorrow; of love, tears, perseverance and patience. It is by far one of the greatest challenges we face in our lives. At Matraea, our mission is to support and empower every mother, new or experienced, to give birth with dignity and grace, in a way that is right for her.“ Kate Koyote RM
These words live on the home page of matraea.com and they remind us – every single day – why we do what we do.
In the western world, we are fortunate to live in a society where we have the right to choice. We have access to many things that we take for granted – choices that girls the world over would give anything for. The list is almost disturbingly simple and includes access to clean drinking water, plentiful food, health care professionals who treat us with respect, medicine when we need it, menstrual supplies, birth control, safe medical abortion, the choice of home or hospital birth, books to read, news stories that inform us, and so, so importantly – the opportunity to be educated.
We are fortunate.
We are very fortunate. It is important to remember those who are not so fortunate.
October 11th, International Day of the Girl, marks the anniversary of the failed assassination attempt of Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani girl targeted by the Taliban for refusing to give up her right to be educated. One of Matraea’s goals is to support and empower women in childbirth, however, our commitment goes much further than that. We rise in solidarity with our sisters all over the world, standing with courage as we demand the end of gender inequality and violence. We are tapping into that instinct that we call Fierce Dignity: the instinct to nurture and protect not only our own children but all children regardless of who they are or where they come from.
Our commitment is to do more to foster change and awareness.
Today, we want to share with you some amazing heroes who are already doing incredible work. The following list of organizations and the women and men behind them are making a difference in the lives of children, and sometimes more specifically women and girls. To learn more about each one and how you can help or get involved, please click on the link in the following descriptions.
Because I am a Girl is Plan’s global initiative to end gender inequality, promote girls’ rights and lift millions of girls – and those around them – out of poverty. To do this, Plan creates sustainable projects in developing countries to improve girls’ access to clean water, food, healthcare and education, as well as protection from violence and exploitation.
The goal for Malala Fund organizers is to enable girls to complete 12 years of safe, quality education so that they can achieve their potential and be positive change-makers in their families and communities. The Malala Fund works with partners all over the world helping to empower girls and amplify their voices; they invest in local education leaders and programs; and they advocate for more resources for education and safe schools for every child.
YWCA Canada’s Mission is to advance gender equality through research, advocacy and sustainable Member Associations. The YWCA’s focus is on ending violence against women and girls, securing universal childcare, achieving women’s economic security and advancing the leadership of women and girls.
The Canadian Red Cross initiatives for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) strive to mobilize communities and government health workers in rural, remote regions of the world where some of the world’s most dire circumstances for women and children exist.
Amnesty International’s goal is a world where people of all genders have their rights equally respected and protected: because no one should face violence or discrimination because of who they are; because one in three women will experience violence at some point in their lives and that is unacceptable; and because far too many girls and women are unable to make the most basic decisions about their bodies and their lives–like when to marry, or when to have children.
At EFry, they believe every life has value. All people are entitled to dignity and respect. And everyone has a right to belong. For over 70 years, that has been their legacy and their promise. For example; The Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver is a charitable organization that provides support services to some of society’s most vulnerable populations – women, girls and children at risk of involvement, involved in, or affected by the justice system.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. NWAC is an aggregate of thirteen Native women’s organizations from across Canada and was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1974.
LEAF focuses on litigation, law reform and public education, primarily the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, most notably section 15 and 28, to challenge laws, policies and practices that discriminate against women. Their work has resulted in landmark victories in preventing violence against women, eliminating discrimination in the workplace, allowing access to reproductive freedoms, and providing better maternity benefits, better spousal support and the right to pay equity.