Women in developing countries could play a major role in improving their countries and communities if they were given a chance. However, most of them are excluded from the decision-making.
From the small towns in Brazil to the villages in Kyrgyzstan, poverty strikes women of all ages. Their lives are often a continuous fight against poor living conditions, low incomes, diseases of the family members and attempts to get proper schooling for the children.
Illiteracy makes it impossible for women to find a good job, thus income becomes uncertain. Girls drop out of school. For them, it happens much earlier than for boys. They help their mothers to look after the house and younger siblings.
It has been said many times that education and decent homes are pivotal in breaking the cycle of poverty. Children whose mothers had basic education are more likely to succeed in life. They complete their studies and end up with better jobs than those children whose mothers had no formal education.
A simple and decent home is important in helping families shelter from nature’s harshest elements. It is also a protection against diseases. When families have simple and decent dwellings, they focus on proper schooling for their children and job searchers.
It is only natural that women take a lead in improving living conditions for the family. They could apply for loans or get assistance to upgrade homes. However, often this assistance is offered to their husbands.
Substardand housing also affects the proper development of children and threathens their health and educational learning process
In some countries of the former socialist camp, this situation has dramatic consequences. In Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, families are locked in poverty. Male heads of the family travel abroad to find job opportunities, while women cannot get help to maintain homes on their own. They live on remittances and do not have full home-ownership rights. As a result, they are not viewed as reliable clients by the banks or microfinance institutions.
Many Habitat programs in the region aim to work with women and offer them opportunities to get home renovations.
You can also help! You can help women around the world, too! Just get involved in Habitat’s programs, anything you can do is much appreciated: a hello, a good word, a prayer, in-kind donations or simply volunteering.
What is next?
Habitat wants people not only to read about poverty housing but to do something to fight it. You can support our work in Europe and Central Asia in a number of ways:
• Visit our U.S. Dollar donation page  to support projects in Europe and Central Asia.
• Visit our Euro donation page  to support projects in Europe and Central Asia.
• Go to country profile  pages to learn about other programmes in this region.
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