After reading Nicholas Kristof's "Half the Sky," Caroline and about 25 of her friends participated in the Heifer Project and bought a cow for a family. Each month Caroline would organize an act of giving, and each month the number of participants would grow. What began as an intimate giving circle has grown into a 501c3 grant receiving/giving foundation that works to empower women and girls around the world through education.
Locally, Sisters for Peace has a diaper and feminine hygiene program whereby diapers, sanitary pads and tampons are delivered to places such as the Elizabeth Freeman Center in Pittsfield and local community centers across the county. These products are not covered by SNAP benefits and can keep children home from childcare programs and mothers home from work or school. SFP also supports the Elizabeth Freeman Center holiday gift drive each year. Additionally, SFP organizes local responses to national/international events; gathering and sending desperately needed supplies to places such as: Houston, Puerto Rico, Standing Rock and Greece to name a few.
Recently, Sisters for Peace funded the building of a small school that is situated in a Masaai Boma in rural Tanzania. In 2017, Caroline with other members SFP and two members of Masaai Partners, traveled to Tanzania to visit that school. The five of us spent four days and three nights living in a Boma. This allowed us the opportunity to experience the everyday routine of life, as well as the space to cultivate deep connections. We visited the school and watched the children demonstrate their lessons; we met with school officials and teachers to hear their concerns and goals; we sang and danced with the parents of the students; and we shared meals with community leaders. It was truly a life-changing experience — an experience that we brought back to share.
While Sister for Peace was in Tanzania we also visited with one of our other on the ground partners, Minjeni Women's Collaborative. Minjeni is a collective of women who organize in many different capacities, such as the Sewing for Growing group in which women are learning the trade of sewing and the business skills necessary to be sustainably self-employed, and the Neema group, which is for women and girls with HIV who have been ostracized from their community and now work together in growing small crops.
SFP has spent a lot of time with these groups over the last few years and on this last trip was able to purchase and deliver some much needed staple food supplies to the most fragile members of the HIV Neema group, as well as to sit and talk over coffee on their newly built porch. Everywhere Caroline goes she hugs, smiles, listens deeply, and sometimes cries.
This is the biggest part of the giving that Caroline does. It's of herself, and it's central to the work of Sisters for Peace.
This is only a fraction of the lives touched by SFP.
Some of Sisters for Peace's other ongoing international programs include sponsoring families in a domestic violence shelter program in Nepal, called Casa Nepal, and offering primary school scholarships to girls in Nepal though SFP's on the ground partner organization called Hands in Outreach.
In Tanzania, SFP also offers scholarships through Tanzania Nursing Scholarship Program and supports the educational needs of other local youth in the region on an individualized basis.
Caroline believes in the connection between the local and the global and demonstrates the change that one person can create in the world by forming networks of people.
Sisters for Peace PO Box 473 Great Barrington MA 01230 413-205-6442