Empowering Women with God’s Word
Working in: Ghana, India and Kyrgyzstan
In some parts of the world, a woman’s life is filled with violence, desperation, shame, abuse and mistreatment. Many women in Ghana, India and Kyrgystan live such lives and are still treated as second-class citizens, with nothing to look forward to except a lifetime of servitude.
Reaching out with compassion, Bible Societies in these countries have devised Bible engagement programs aimed at empowering women with God’s Word.
Ghana: Story-based Trauma Healing
This program seeks to bring healing and hope for women who face various forms of discrimination and abuse. In Northern Ghana, hundreds of women are accused of sorcery and witchcraft by their relatives or members of their community. These accusations, oftentimes based on flimsy and unfounded stories, generate such a negative reaction from the family or community that a person accused is forced to leave town and seek refuge in “specialized camps.”
Ritual servitude is a practice that exploits women – usually young virgin girls. They are offered as shrine slaves to fetish priests in payment of services or as atonement for religious misconduct by family members. These girls are offered without their consent and work without getting paid.
Victims of ritual servitude and false accusations live with anger and bitterness, the feeling of abandonment and despair.
The Bible Society in Ghana is working with partners in “specialized camps”, through workshops and radio programs to reach people with the message of forgiveness, hope and restoration in Jesus.
Yayra was accussed of witchcraft and beaten in her own house while her elder son was away. In her anger, she vowed to take revenge on her attackers as soon as her son returned. However, she tuned in to the Story-based Trauma Healing radio program where they talked about a person who went through the same situation and discussed about forgiveness. After listening, Yayra decided to forgive her attackers.
India: Empowering widows and suffering women
Did you know that there are about 40 million widows in India? That is more than the population of Canada! Daily, these women go through difficulties that emphasize their lack of worth in their society. In India, in general, when a woman loses her husband, she loses her dignity, identity and worth. Delhi psychologist Vasantha Patri described their situation as “physically alive but socially dead.” They are invisible to society.
Counted to their number are the suffering women – those who have been abandoned or abused by their husbands. They have nowhere to go, receive no support from their family and have no hope for a better life.
In a society that shuns widows and abused women, these marginalized women are finding hope and meaning in life through God’s Word. Several years ago, the Bible Society launched a Scripture engagement program focusing on the marginalized women of India. This program uses biblical truths to help women regain their self-esteem and dignity and teach them skills that help them become productive members of society. Furthermore, the program equips these outcasts to not only live with hope, but also become hope-givers to others.
Gracy, 60, loved her husband and misses him terribly. She says life is very difficult for her and that she is afraid for her future. A lifelong Christian, she says she finds hope in God alone. She participates in the Bible Society of India’s program to reach out to widows and suffering women, which has been running since 2008 and reaches more than 25,000 women each year. [Photo: United Bible Societies]
Kyrgyzstan: Bible Texts for Women
In a country where “grab and run” weddings (where women are kidnapped and forced into marriage) are acceptable, it’s no surprise that many women in Kyrgyzstan find themselves living in difficult situations at home, some becoming victims of abuse and domestic violence.
In partnership with churches and organizations working with women from abusive homes, the Bible Society produced a resource called Bible Texts for Women. This resource is a supplement to the program offered by churches and organizations addressing domestic violence. The book contains Scriptures of hope and encouragement with short devotional texts and prayers. It is encouraging to hear that some of these women were empowered to share about their faith and eventually led their family to Christ.
What your gift of $50 can do:
- provides eight women with the Scripture resource, Bible Texts for Women, in Kyrgyzstan.
- provides 10 Bibles to women in Ghana.
- Helps support the Story-based radio program in Ghana.
Support this project by selecting “Empowering Women” when you donate.