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Willow Tree Roots: Educating Women in Entrepreneurship

Willow Tree Roots is a US nonprofit that exists to empower vulnerable women in developing nations by educating them on how to achieve socioeconomic independence. The organization’s Women’s Socioeconomic Empowerment Project is currently operating in Kenya, Peru, and Nepal.

The nonprofit believes that the empowerment of women leads to not only individual confidence and contentment, but also to an increase in a country’s overall economic success. Women make up over 70 percent of the world’s poor. Through its many projects, Willow Tree Roots aims to give women the tools they need to succeed as business and community leaders, while also instilling in them passion and self-worth.

Willow Tree Roots has developed projects designed for each individual country depending on the country’s most pressing issues.

In Kenya, women are educated far less and are still limited in terms of owning, acquiring, and controlling property. One in five Kenyan women is a victim of sexual or physical violence, and 27 percent of girls have undergone Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting. HIV and AIDS are also huge issues, and many women affected by these diseases are discriminated against instead of treated.

Peruvian women, meanwhile, are strongly affected by poverty and unemployment. Seven in 10 women have been the victims of physical or psychological abuse. Nepal is classified as one of the most difficult places to be a woman, with human trafficking being the most critical issue. There are inadequate employment opportunities due to a lack of equal access to education, and there is a huge domestic violence problem.

Through the Women’s Socioeconomic Empowerment Project, Willow Tree is able to provide these women with income-generating skills. The women and girls are given the opportunity to be trained in a craft of their choosing. They are then educated in business and financial development, which gives them the knowledge to potentially own their own businesses in the future.

The impact Willow Tree Roots has had in all three of these countries is remarkable. The women have acquired a sense of belonging and respect for themselves, and the education they have received on business and finances has allowed them to become a part of their communities economically.

Willow Tree Roots is based out of Sacramento, California, where the organization run another project called The Power of SHE (Shaping and Honing Entrepreneurs). The Power of SHE works with 16 to 22-year-old women in vulnerable communities who are in need education on how to become entrepreneurs. These women and girls are given the chance to manifest their business ideas and present them in front of potential investors.

Everything that Willow Tree Roots does is in pursuit of advancing the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of gender equality. By empowering young women through entrepreneurship, the organization believe the UN’s goals can be reached in the near future.

Anyone can help Willow Tree’s mission. By simply donating money, you can provide project supplies and refreshments, or even sponsor a participant’s entire entrepreneurship program! You can also purchase products made by individuals from each country that Willow Tree Roots works with. Browse through bow ties, skirts, and jewelry that are all handmade with traditional textiles in either Kenya, Peru, or Nepal.

Featured Image by Pedro Szekely on Flickr

Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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