20 charity programs supporting rural women

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According to a recent report on the economic empowerment of rural women, an estimated 250 million women who are able to work still live in rural villages and towns. They are often the main family member responsible for farm work and childcare. With many women facing significant challenges, a number of charity foundations run programs focused on empowering rural women and making them more employable. Here’s 20 of them:

Program: Loving Mama Forever

Organization: Fujian Province Hengshen Charitable Foundation

This program sets out to support mothers in Fujian Province who are the sole breadwinners in their household. By collaborating with grassroots non-profit social organizations developed from volunteer teams, the program initially provides mothers with funds, as well as identifying their talents and empowering them through direct intervention.

Program: Sisters in the Village

Organization: Fujian Province Hengshen Charitable Foundation

Starting by cultivating women’s self-help groups in villages, this program aims to help rural women achieve growth and develop abilities to deal with common difficulties in their living environments, such as discrimination. It helps to build village-based, goal-driven and problem-solving women’s groups, through which services such as capacity building, companionship, and small loans will be provided to women.

Program: Guangdong Left-behind Women Employment Training Development Plan

Organization: Guangdong Province Lvya Village Women Development Foundation

This program has developed agricultural materials for small family farms and established its own farming demonstration base and an online self-help network for women. Through virtual and offline training, the program supports left-behind rural women to grow, sell and develop ecofriendly agricultural products. By June 2021, the program had worked with more than 6,000 rural women.

Program: Lvya Village Companion

Organization: Guangdong Province Lvya Village Women Development Foundation

This program focuses on the comprehensive development of villages, and aims to train women leaders, develop women’s social networks and help establish women’s self-help groups. By getting women involved in solving development issues in rural communities, the program hopes to give women in rural areas a better life.

Program: Loving Nannies Support Scheme

Organization: China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation

Centered on “empowering women with new abilities” to carry out poverty alleviation programs, the support scheme provides training, employment advice and further education programs to women. By July 2021, the scheme had trained 1,977 women from 17 provinces. Since it was initiated five years ago, it has been reported that women on the training scheme have seen their salaries double or sometimes triple after completing the training.

Program: Fuping Housekeeping and Community Service

Organization: Beijing Fuping College, Beijing Leping Public Welfare Foundation

This program aims to provide reliable and professional housekeeping services for urban communities, while at the same time offering decent employment opportunities for women in the central and western regions of China. It also helps disadvantaged women to seek employment opportunities and self-development. Over the past 19 years, 68,000 domestic helpers have been trained and gone on to find employment, with 90 percent from a rural background.

Program: Village Women Employment Plan in the Digital Age

Organization: Zhejiang Alipay Charity Foundation

Alipay Charity Foundation uses the internet to help increase women’s income and industry development in underdeveloped areas by introducing opportunities, improving training, increasing employment security, and setting up digital employment centers. By November 2021, 12 county-level digital employment centers had been established across the country, providing nearly 3,000 people with work and a monthly salary of 3,000 yuan.

Program: Gansu Dongxiang Embroiderers Support Scheme  

Organization: Guangdong Province Guoqiang Charity Foundation

In order to better help minority women in poor areas escape poverty, the Guangdong Guoqiang Charity Foundation relies on the Poverty Alleviation Office of the Country Garden Holdings Company Limited to implement the Dongxiang Embroiderer Support Scheme, promoting the state-level intangible cultural heritage Dongxiang embroidery project for poverty alleviation. The scheme has helped set up a comprehensive industry hub and trained a team of skilled female embroiderers, developed a Dongxiang embroidery commercial brand, and created a public welfare product. By the end of 2021, the project had reached more than 1,000 Dongxiang women, with sales exceeding 2.3 million yuan.

Program: Starbucks Village Mothers Acceleration Program

Organization: China Women’s Development Foundation, Starbucks Charity Foundation

The Starbucks Foundation donated $1 million (approximately 7 million yuan) to the China Women’s Development Foundation to establish the “Starbucks Rural Mother Acceleration Program”. It plans to provide more than 22,000 special skills training workshops for over 1,500 poor rural mothers within three years to improve their traditional handicraft skills and enable them to become self-employed. It is expected to assist economic development in rural areas as well as actively promote the protection of China’s intangible cultural heritage.

Program: Happiness Project

Organization: China Population Welfare Foundation, China Family Planning Association and China Population News Agency

In February 1995, the China Population Welfare Foundation, China Family Planning Association and China Population News Agency jointly initiated the “Happiness Project – Action to Help Poor Mothers”. The project uses small-scale subsidies to directly support individual women as they try to climb their way out of poverty. At the same time, various localities are encouraged to adapt measures suitable for their particular circumstances and explore ways of providing low-cost, efficient, and sustainable aid.

Program: Sowing Hope for Rural Women   

Organization: China Population Welfare Foundation, UN Women, WeChat Charity and Sina Charity

This program is committed to strengthening the social and economic empowerment of rural women in Qinghai Province, improving their capability to cope with climate change and helping rural women increase their income and gain respect. The project involves seven counties and provides training in ecofriendly agricultural techniques, market docking and the necessary materials for agricultural production.

Program: Orange Mama

Organization: Youcheng Entrepreneur Poverty Alleviation Foundation

This program aims to empower rural women with the necessary knowledge to become an entrepreneur and be economically independent. By offering a six-month online course combined with empowerment training and mentorship, it has combined learning and practice into the entrepreneurial growth system. The areas covered in the growth system include finance, e-commerce skills, women’s mental health and leadership.

Program: @Her Women’s Digital Literacy Improvement Plan

Organization: Shanghai Mana Data Technology Development Foundation

This program plans to conduct a female digital literacy training course, offer support and empowerment activities to increase women’s employment opportunities and competitiveness, and help them to realize personal growth. Meanwhile, it seeks to eliminate the gender digital divide, and promote digital equality for both genders. It hopes to help women better adapt to the digital age and share in its benefits.

Program: @Her Entrepreneurship Plan

Organization: China Women’s Development Foundation

Since 1996, the “Mother’s Entrepreneurship Revolving Fund” project has been launched in more than 20 provinces and cities across the country and involves giving small loans to alleviate household poverty. In 2015, China Women’s Development Foundation upgraded the project in response to the national policy of “mass entrepreneurship and innovation”.

Program: Genius Mother 

Organization: China Women’s Development Foundation

Based on a previous development project of helping poor women develop handicraft skills, the “Genius Mother” charitable project was created in 2009. Aimed at equipping creative women with craftmanship skills, the project is designed to assist women in becoming an essential force for rural revitalization.

Program: Rural Women Tourism for Poverty Alleviation 

Organization: China Women’s Development Foundation

Through donations gained from public fundraising, this program uses money to support women to start their tourism-related businesses and become self-reliant. With women earning more money, social problems like left-behind children and caring for the elderly can be tackled.

Program: Rural Women in Qinghai Province – Economic Empowerment Project to Address Climate Change

Organization: UN Women, Chanel Foundation

This project is committed to strengthening the social and economic empowerment of rural women in Qinghai Province, enhancing their understanding of technology, government policies, and financial resources to achieve their goals, reduce poverty and cope with climate change.

Program: Yanchuan Women’s Employment Program

Organization: Jiangsu Women and Children’s Welfare Foundation

This project aims to gradually train 1,000 women in Yanchuan County and equip them with the skills required to obtain employment. At the same time, the project aims to involve more women in the local “Bu Dui Hua” (布堆花) handicraft industry.

Program: Women’s Employment and Empowerment Program

Organization: Jiangsu Province Women and Children’s Welfare Foundation, Nanjing Jianye District Sicheng Culture and Art Centre

Through career and skills training, this program aims to help women in low-income households and single women to find employment. Special funds are also available for women who want to be entrepreneurs.

Program: One Needle, One Thread Charity Program

Organization: Shanghai Service Industries Development & Research Foundation, Enaixinzhi Volunteer Service Center

By setting up digital workshops for embroiderers, the aim of this program is to pair village embroiderers with designers to help rural women in southwestern China to find employment or become entrepreneurs. In addition, it aims to promote the cultures of the Yi, Hani, Miao, and Buyi ethnic groups. The main content of the program includes the establishment of embroidery workshops, the hosting of skills training and standard operating procedure (SOP) management learning camps, as well as the staging of embroidery exhibitions and competitions. The program also involves study tours in Shanghai and connects embroiderers with companies  producing intangible cultural heritage products.