Readers Who Care: Dede Pickering

Dede Pickering, 55, splits her time between Manhattan and the New Jersey shore. A retired executive recruiter, she started the volunteer Women’s Initiative group for CARE in New York and has traveled to cities throughout the U.S. to launch similar groups in Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco.
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"When I was introduced to CARE as a volunteer in 1998, my travels and my life came together. I have always been an avid traveler with a passion for photography. The women and children I saw through my camera lens really clicked something in my heart, and I decided I wanted to do something to help them.

"My photographs are an instant in time in another person’s life. Striving to capture places before there are too many footsteps, I have discovered global ties to native cultures, the environment, and ultimately my inner self."

Dede has visited CARE sites in Guatemala, India, Ghana, Togo, and Benin. Here’s a glimpse of what she has taken from her experience…

CARE in Guatemala, 1 of 4

When: 1999

"CARE’s micro-credit programs offer poor women in rural areas the opportunity to start businesses. This was the first project that the New York Women’s Initiative supported. I helped co-found the initiative in 1998. We provided mothers with additional loans to help ensure their daughters’ educations."

Photo: As her parents meet in the next room for a micro-credit loan, a little girl looks out the window toward her future.

CARE in Guatemala, 2 of 4

One of the women who had set up a business growing and harvesting beans.

CARE in Guatemala, 3 of 4

This group of women received micro-credit loans.

CARE in Guatemala, 4 of 4

Three girls enrolled in school.

CARE in India

When: 2000

"In India, education is often the only way to lift oneself out of poverty. For girls, education is life changing; it gives them opportunities their mothers could only dream of."

Photo: This girl is part of a CARE program to educate girls.

CARE in West Africa: Ghana, Togo, and Benin, 1 of 7

When: 2003

"West Africa is another part of the world where children, especially little girls, are often robbed of an education for many reasons."

Photo: "This is my favorite photo of Ghana. This woman is a headmistress in a local school and goes door-to-door, hut-to-hut, asking parents why their children are not in school."

CARE in West Africa, 2 of 7

Two boys sitting in a classroom in Ghana.

CARE in West Africa, 3 of 7

A group of schoolchildren smiling outside the classroom.

CARE in West Africa, 4 of 7

This girl is able to attend school thanks to CARE.

CARE in West Africa, 5 of 7

A co-ed school financed by CARE in Benin.

CARE in West Africa, 6 of 7

Children in Benin.

CARE in West Africa, 7 of 7

These children benefited from the installation of a clean water system in Togo.

Originally published on MORE.com, February 2008.

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