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Inspired by women changemakers

By Meril Cullinan
Bertukan Girma, a farmer and mother from the Oronia region of Ethiopia, with her children. Photo: Eva-Lotta Jansson / Oxfam America

In the fight against poverty, women are on the front lines. Each year on March 8, the world stops to celebrate women and their accomplishments for International Women’s Day.

This year, Oxfam supporters are honoring women by sharing inspiring stories of women leaders who are making a difference in the fight against poverty, hunger, and injustice. From San Francisco, California to Lilongwe, Malawi to Espinar, Peru, there are incredible women who are a force for change in their communities. They are our mothers, daughters, and sisters, and our community’s small business owners, teachers, political leaders, farmers, community health workers, activists, and more.

By highlighting the stories of women changemakers who are acting locally and helping globally, we show that their actions matter—and we send a powerful message about the role of women as a force for change. Below, meet a few of the women who are inspiring us this International Women’s Day, 

Rooney Mara, New York, NY

Rooney Mara isn’t just an Academy Award-nominated actress—she’s a champion for women and girls in and around Kibera, Kenya. Rooney and her family raise funds to support safe housing, education, and other needs for girls who once lived in the Kiberia slums. Rooney also founded Faces of Kibera, an organization that focuses on community-based empowerment programs. Through this program, children have a safe place to go after school and adults learn life skills like gardening, cooking, small business development, and microfinance.


Meas Sopheap, Krang Lahong, Cambodia

Meas Sopheap is a rice farmer in southern Cambodia. Her leadership capabilities have helped her provide for her extended family and helped her stand out as an expert in growing rice using the System of Rice Intensification. Thanks to her enthusiastic and successful adoption of SRI practices, Sopheap has also become a trainer of other farmers. Her neighbors have noticed her leadership and have voted her deputy chief of her village.



Kin Schilling, Hancock, New Hampshire, USA

Kin Schilling teaches sustainable and nourishing life practices to children and young adults by connecting them to the land and community. She’s the founder of the Cornucopia Project in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire, which started as a CSA program and has grown to a program that creates a sustainable local food system through community gardens that provide for the community food bank, many school programs throughout the region, and education for making healthy eating choices.



Is there a woman in your life who is making a difference in the fight against poverty, hunger, and injustice, either locally or globally? Celebrate her this International Women's Day by raising awareness about women's efforts to change the world.

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