My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Monday—Fortunately for me, no meetings of the United States delegation to the United Nations Assembly were held on Saturday, so after a short meeting with my advisers in the morning, I started for the country. Fala went with me, and we got home in time for a good walk in the woods before I went off to dine with the YWCA in Poughkeepsie, and to speak at their meeting.

The national YWCA is just starting a campaign for a round-the-world YWCA reconstruction fund. They have made a preliminary survey in Europe and Asia and find that there is universal need and desire among women overseas for American help and leadership.

Women in many countries are finding responsibilities thrust upon them to a greater extent even than in our own country, because they have lost the finest of their young and older men. This means that more and more women abroad will be taking part in public affairs, trying to solve the problems of health and education and giving the spiritual leadership and moral guidance which, under ordinary circumstances, would be expected of the men in their communities.

This is an unusual departure for many women in parts of the world where, formerly, they have lived in comparative seclusion. And that is why the YWCA feels that the work which it has been doing in many countries should now be strengthened and broadened to give greater help to our sisters struggling with their new problems.

* * *

In Manila, for instance, which is very close to our hearts in the United States, all of the YWCA buildings were demolished by bombs and must be rebuilt. In Czechoslovakia, new youth hostels will be needed everywhere. In Holland, women have no places in which to meet except barns and stables and lofts. In China, girl students and industrial workers are trying to devise ways and means to acquire education for citizenship.

Therefore the YWCA is trying to raise $2,100,000 to help the women of thirty countries with a special program during the next few years. These will be years of emergency, when new work must begin in practically every war-torn country. The five purposes of this YWCA program are:

  1. To provide American personnel for creative development of leadership in foreign lands.
  2. To train new "indigenous" leaders in their own countries and in the United States.
  3. To conserve and refresh the pre-war leaders who are exhausted by the war years and to help reorient them for the tasks ahead.
  4. To reconstruct physical facilities.
  5. To extend the YWCA work and program wherever it is needed.

I think every woman in the United States will want to share in this fund, so no matter how small your contribution has to be, I hope you will be sure to make one. In numbers there is strength, and we in America must help the women of the world.

E. R.