December 10 is UN Human Rights Day, an opportunity to celebrate universal human rights and advocate for the full enjoyment of all rights by all people, regardless of geography, gender, race or socioeconomic status. This year, Human Rights Day spotlights the rights of all people to make their voices heard in public life and to participate in political decision-making. Opportunity Ghana client Patience Fofo Lartey is dedicated to empowering local women to find a voice and earn the respect of their community, often for the first time in their lives.
Patience is a community organizer in the Ablekuma South area of Chorkor, a small fishing community on the south side of Accra, Ghana, where she works with over 300 women. “As a woman organizer,” she explains, “you take care of the needs and organize all the women in the community. Once I decided to take this role, their concerns became my concerns. People are normally not well regarded if they don’t have a business, but there is a saying that ‘what a man can do a woman can also do,’ so I have been encouraging them to be responsible for themselves.”
She has also helped other women start small businesses. “I want to make sure everyone is equal,” she says. “Now, these women have their own money, their own businesses, and as a result they have earned the respect of the people. I’m happy. I will continue to help them and even do more for them than I am doing now.”
In families where women have an income, they have a voice in financial decisions, resulting in better nutrition, health and education for children. Studies show that women will spend 90% of their income to support the family as opposed to the 35% spent by men. When family needs are met, women are more likely to invest in their communities. According to the Half the Sky Movement, an Opportunity International partner, when women have the skills to participate in public life, government corruption declines.
Join us today to help ensure all people have the basic human right to have a voice in their own political, social and economic lives.
Hear more of Patience’s story and how she helps hundreds of local women find their voice: