For many women, the cycle of poverty and unemployment is nearly impossible to break out of. Barriers such as a lack of skills, limited availability due to family responsibilities, and lack of support can keep people in a constant struggle for survival. Foundation Beyond Belief’s Q3 Education beneficiary, Washington Women’s Employment and Education, transforms lives from the inside out by providing assistance to low-income adults.
“It was the middle of the night when I answered the door to police investigators,” says a WWEE client of her experience. “Your husband is in custody, Mrs. Robles. We need to ask you a few questions.” And just like that, my family fell apart. I was pregnant, with three young children, and suddenly I was a single mom. We were heartbroken, alone and scared.”
“I tried to find work, but I couldn’t take a job with long or odd hours; my children needed me. I finally had to apply for state assistance … Our heat was shut off and we had to stay with friends. Explaining to my children that we couldn’t go home was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I was battling hopelessness and depression. I felt like a failure.”
Struggling to work her way out of her desperate situation, she turned to WWEE, where she was “welcomed, respected and encouraged.” Rather than just being expected to learn and change, she explains, WWEE took the time to actually teach and show her how to achieve this.
In WWEE’s REACH Plus program, which focuses particularly on women, students are given the experience of a full-time job, 35 hours a week. Combining professional skills with personal skills such as punctuality and time management, students are held to workplace standards throughout the training period of five works, developing the tools they need to find and hold a job. Skills taught include resume- and cover-letter writing, presentation, interview techniques, computer skills, and self-knowledge of the factors that are causing barriers in their lives.
Now, employed and out of debt, Mrs. Robles has been able to take her children back-to-school shopping. “As a parent, you want to give your children everything. Now, I can. [WWEE] helped me become the best mother – and the best person – I can be.”