woman in pink

March/April 2015

Grantee Highlight
Focus on Haiti 
by Carmen Attikossie, Development and Communications Intern


Empowering women to make changes in their lives and communities is one of the core methods by which we accomplish our work at Mary's Pence. We've seen that women's empowerment is key to helping a society or community flourish. One way we carry out this work is through our Mary's Pence Grant program. We support organizations like Focus on Haiti, a foundation that is changing the lives of women through education, health care, and microfinance.


Focus on Haiti, was founded by The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas in 2011. The sisters wanted to collaborate with other religious communities in other cultures to address dire problems that affect women and children. To begin, they chose to work in a small town in Haiti called Gros Morne. Gros Morne was a focal point for the sisters because a significant amount of the members in their community had at one point visited Haiti, and they always came back from their trips inspired to do acts of social justice.


The town of Gros Morne is a rural city that is in the north of Haiti. Like several rural areas in Haiti, there is no access to public water supply or sewage amenities, and electricity is scarce. Many of the inhabitants of the town of Gros Morne, especially women and children, live in abject poverty and do not have access to basic necessities like healthcare and food. Life for the residents of Gros Morne became even more challenging in the aftermath of the earthquake that decimated Haiti in 2010...

JusticeIssue of Justice   

The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Fast Track Approval: Oppose the Damage Done by Free Trade Agreements  

By Anna Zaros


What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership? 


The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a massive free trade agreement among the countries around the Pacific Rim. Countries currently involved in the negotiations are: the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Eventually, the TPP could include all nations along the Pacific Rim. Discussions about the TPP, a cornerstone of President Obama's trade policy, were initiated in 2005. In his last State of the Union he expressed his desire to achieve approval of the agreement in the coming months. Although the TPP is labeled a "trade agreement" only 5 of the 29 chapters deal with traditional trade issues. It is a wide-sweeping agreement with potential to impact our federal, state, and even local policies.


Why Does Mary's Pence Oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership? 


ESPERA women in Mexico discuss how they are impacted by free trade and economic problems
ESPERA women in Mexico discuss how they are impacted by free trade and other economic issues.

Free trade agreements (FTAs) have a history of harming people already suffering from economic injustice. Agreements such as NAFTA and CAFTA have led to the off-shoring of jobs for citizens of the United States, while also undercutting profits of local farmers in Mexico and Central America with the import of cheap foods. This contributed to the increase in the use of sweatshop labor and an increase in migration, as individuals felt forced to leave their homes to provide for their families. While trade agreements can improve labor standards and the quality of life for people around the world, those who have analyzed leaked parts of the TPP say that it replicates many of the provisions that allowed previous free trade agreements to wreak havoc on good paying, stable jobs around the world. Thus, we are worried that the TPP will replicate the policies of previous FTAs and have a huge impact due to the expansive size of the agreement. In short, the TPP could drastically increase economic injustices both at home and abroad - economic injustices that the women we partner with are already affected by and working against.


Continue reading about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and how you can help here.


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We envision a world where empowered women and their communities flourish in solidarity and justice. Mary's Pence invests in women across the Americas by funding community initiatives and fostering collaborations to create social change.

Imaginamos un mundo en el cual, las mujeres empoderadas y sus comunidades, florezcan en solidaridad y justicia. Mary's Pence invierte en iniciativas comunitarias de mujeres en las Américas y fomenta la colaboración para crear cambio social.


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In This Issue

Grantee Highlight:
Focus on Haiti  


Issue of Justice: the Trans-Pacific Partnership  





ESPERA Participant, Letty, grows corn with her husband in Mexico. They only use the corn for their own consumption because they can't get a good price for it at market.  

As I enter the street market,
Wheel my trolley at the superstore,
Leaf through a catalogue, or log on to the internet:
Be with me and help me
When I spend money.
Be with me and help me
To see the market place as you see it,
As wide as the world you love so much.
Be with us and help us
To share the markets we share
For all people.
As we live under your steady gaze,
So we can change, by your gracious love.


-From ChristianAid.ie 

Mary's Pence

 Contact us: (651) 788-9869