Top Organizations Creating Self Reliance for Women in the Developing World

creating self-reliance

The goal in creating self-reliance is akin to teaching somebody to fish so they can feed themselves for a lifetime, rather than giving them one fish so they can eat for a day.

You’ve heard the saying that it’s better to give a hand up than a handout; that allows people to start being self-reliant instead of waiting for the next crumb to be thrown their way.

Unfortunately, all too many charities and non-profits rely on the handout method of helping people. So when the charity goes away, or the donors stop giving, the recipients are right back where they started: nowhere, and with nothing.

The good news is there are several organizations that focus on self-reliance, particularly when it comes to helping women in areas of the developing world forge a sustainable career — poor women, unemployed women, refugee women, war widow, HIV widows, and other women previously struggling to get by.

These women have skills that would make your jaw drop. They can weave the most beautiful baskets you’ve ever seen, create glass-like beads out of recycled paper, and tap into trends and styles that make their handiwork desirable around the world.

In an ongoing series, we’re going to profile some of the top organizations that do that. Many of them focus in Africa, helping some of the poorest people in the world get back on their feet. Others work in different areas in need.

But they all have one thing in common: they care about giving people a hand up rather than a handout.

And some of them help people closer to home make a living, too, for a win-win scenario building self-reliance on both sides of the coin.

More “Creating Self-Reliance”

Keep an eye on this blog for the latest profiles of these organizations, which will be added on a regular basis.

About Anita Casalina


  1. So true… and very damaging when you think about it. Charities do not help a community out if their only focus is to give handouts. In the short run it may help but without a long term extended benefit that can be reproduced or built upon by the local community it is of no real benefit…. especially after they leave.

  2. Absolutely right. Self-reliance is the way to go. Simply giving handouts is not only self defeating in the long run because of the dependence it creates, it is also demeaning and disempowering.