Introducing Myself, My Work & My Vision

Fonda Sanchez
Posted November 28, 2015 from United States
Leharon and Kavita
Leharon and Kavita (1/2)

Hello! I am looking forward to this new adventure in connecting with female changemakers around the world.

I am a graduate of Portland State University with a BA in Child & Family Studies and MS in Conflict resolution. Due to my interest in an international career I tailored my studies in development work, women's empowerment, social justice, cross-cultural communication, peace studies, and human rights.

While completing my master's degree I traveled to Maharashtra and Rajasthan, India to intern with two NGO's focused on women's empowerment through micro-loans and girls education. I went India not knowing what I might encounter, but always with the intention of embracing and learning. During my internship in Rajasthan I met many young girls who were out of school, who worked at home, or were married. There was one girl I met who was only 14 years old and had recently been married to a boy just a couple years older than her. Her in-laws decided to pull her out of secondary school because their son had not completed his own education. In other words, they did not want her education status to be higher than his. In her eyes and voice she was determined to return to school regardless of the consequences. I left with incredible new knowledge and an even greater desire to serve others.

Once I completed my degree I decided to start a nonprofit organization called Education for Equality International. Our mission is to promote girls' education, empowerment, and leadership in developing countries. I have written a curriculum to help build awareness of gender-based violence against women and girls, risks of child marriage, importance of education for girls, and to teach skills in conflict resolution, gender equality advocacy, and being agents of change.

Since starting EEI I have returned to India to seek out a local NGO in Rajasthan that I could partner with and develop our empowerment program, and carry out our pilot project. I am so thankful that I have had success in both of these goals! Earlier this year I went to Rajasthan to co-facilitate our Brave New Girl program to thirteen adolescent girls which was organized by my partner organization in the local village.The girls who participated in this program have been sponsored by EEI and granted scholarships to complete their secondary education. My hope is that one day EEI’s program can be led by local leaders in their community all around the world in an effort to keep girls in school, address the root causes of gender discrimination, and create a better world for future generations of women and girls.

I have joined World Pulse to connect and network with others who believe in an equal and just world for women and girls. I am searching for funding opportunities for my nonprofit, advice on community building and trainings, and future project site opportunities. I seek to offer my knowledge and expertise, but I also am open to learning from others. I have a passion to engage in unique and meaningful conversations, foster trust to build rapport, and greatly encourage the voices of others to be heard. I want to understand and learn what it is that women and girls are doing or want to do in their communities to create change. As I have worked hard to create a safe space for the young women I serve in India I also aim to do this in the online community.

I can’t wait to talk with all of you!

Fonda

Comments 7

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Rahmana Karuna
Nov 30, 2015
Nov 30, 2015

Greetings Fonda What an inspiring intro you have written! Makes me wanna jump right in helping you. Must be your enthusiasm coming through. This summer i read a book lying on the patio bench "I am Malika", (the young girl shot by the Taliban) she is dedicated to girls education. Maybe you have already contacted her foundation. By the way, i happen to live 3 hours south of PDX .

Fonda Sanchez
Dec 01, 2015
Dec 01, 2015

Hi Rahmana! Thank you for your message. I do believe you must mean the book written by Malala Yousafzai, right? I definitley would love to be in partnership with the foundation one day! Would love all the help I can get with fundraising and spreading the word about EEI. Thanks so much for your support. If you are ever in Portland, do let me know. :) 

vrclark
Dec 07, 2015
Dec 07, 2015

Dear Fonda,  

Thank you for your life long commitment and devotion to setting up a nonprofit organization called Education for Equality International.  From what I have been learning, more indepth by communicating with sisters on the World Pulse forum, your organization's mission to promote girls' education, empowerment, and leadership in developing countries is beyond dire in need!  Every hand in effecting change and supporting the empowerment of women and girls is a gift of life-changing value. Whether it be in western developed countries as the USA, or  areas of the world where generations of oppression, abuse and physical alteration of women's and girl's bodies is ritual and tradition, your mission celebrates and propogates the wisdom and strenght inherent in women!

Thank you for your global contribution! Keep up the essential GOOD work!!! I'm honored to meet you, smile!

Fonda Sanchez
Dec 07, 2015
Dec 07, 2015

Hi Veronica!

So great to meet you and also learn about your experience and background. Thank you so much for your kind words of support and encouragement. I absolutely love this new adventure of starting my own nonprofit. 

On another note, I wanted to acknowledge your experience as an survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence. It sounds like you have come so far and are doing incredible work in your community and especially for deaf survivors. Amazing! I am currently employed with a DV/SA nonprofit called Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center. We support Americans who are living abroad and are experiencing domestic violence. We also have a program to support victims of sexual assault while abroad called Sexual Assault Support and Help for Americans Abroad. We are advocates that work with mostly women who are US citizens and live all over the world. From anything to searching for legal services, counseling programs, emotional support, danger-to-safety planning, and emergency financial services we are there to help people in crisis. If you've never heard of us, please check out our website www.866uswomen.org 

I hope you are doing well, it's great to meet you! I'm already enjoying my time on the World Pulse site. It's so awesome to meet people who have the same goals and interests for women's equality and empowerment. 

Best, 

Fonda

Dec 07, 2015
Dec 07, 2015
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
vrclark
Dec 18, 2015
Dec 18, 2015

Hello Fonda!!

This response to your last, informative, kind post is far too late in coming!! I have been wanting to reply since I first read your words, however, I am currently unemployed and life has been demanding of me as I search for employment and paste my life together : )

With that said, I am thrilled to go back in to World Pulse and reread our correspondence today!  I am going to go on the website you offered www.866uswomen.org and wonder if you have a contact for me to inquire about employment with programs you are affiliated with including Sexual Assault Support and Help for Americans Abroad?

Being involved working for these organizations would be such a good fit for me.  Not only due to decades of experience and professional involvement working with under-served populations affected by victimization, and being a survivor myself of both domestic violence and sexual assault, I also lived in The Netherlands for seven years married to a Dutchman, and know what it is to live in a foreign country experiencing domestic violence.  

I sat, crying, in the dark, rain, many a night in the parking lot of our housing complex with no place I knew to go, no idea how the legal system worked or where to seek help, did not speak the language, and would be in danger if I returned to him. And that, as you can imagine, was only the tip of the iceberg!!

I understand what it is to be clueless with how to help ones self, and how frightening, hopeless, and dire such an experience is for victims of violence in a foreign country.  

It was not until we returned to live in the US that I was able to attend women support groups and feel empowered enough to start contacting 911 (Emergency Police response) so that police would arrive at our home to break the violence.

Please let me know what ways I might be involved in reaching women in these kind of situations, and possibly be employed to work for the vital support organizations you are affiliated with and initiated!!  

I am truly, very thankful and excited to meet you, Fonda.  The work that you do, acknowledges "me"; I feel "seen" by you and what you are doing for women and girls across the globe. How might I join you!???  

I look forward to hearing from you again!

Keep up the good work!! I do hope this finds you well! 

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Dec 22, 2015
Dec 22, 2015

hi Fonda you are definately an inspiration to many women. Your story is very touching. I am glad your doing work in your home country. The girls are truly blessed to be part of you. And i am sure that many young girls lives will change for the better. God bless you Keep us posted Sray blessed