Berd Women’s Resource Center Foundation
The Berd Women’s Resource Center Foundation works to protect, support, and advocate for women’s rights by providing educational and economic opportunities, as well as health and social services to the women of the community. These opportunities and services are partially funded by the sale of handicrafts made by local women employed by the center. By employing local women, the center contributes to the economic development of the region while empowering women on the path to financial independence.
Theory of Change
In order to demand their rights within their families and society and to escape domestic violence, women must first be financially independent, enabling them to solve their own problems by exercising choice, rather than waiting to be "rescued."
Thirty women at a time are employed for an agreed upon period, making a variety of handicrafts; the most popular are the “Berd’s Bears” teddy bears, which are sold around the world. Part of the income from these sales is then channeled into the services the center provides, including women’s health and reproductive services. In this region of Armenia, access to mammography is particularly limited and is among the women’s health services the center provides, in addition to mental health services. The center also provides business training to local women, for example in sustainable tourism and hospitality.
The center has employed dozens of women as artisans and has provided them with training to improve their craft. Employment with the center has ameliorated the women’s financial circumstances and boosted their self-confidence. Hundreds more local women have benefited from the health and social services provided by the resource center.