As we head into Fall, the Circle of Sisterhood (CofS) is already thinking ahead to the Spring to make 2021 the best year yet. March is a special time for CofS because that is when the staff accepts grant applications from organizations working around the world to remove barriers to education for girls and women. These organizations can be awarded up to $10,000 in grant funds to make that impact. Just imagine what they can do with $10,000. Actually, you don’t have to imagine. We’ll just show you a quick glimpse as CofS takes a look back to where three of those grants have gone during its first ten years.
Great Commission Ministries
Our inaugural grant! It was the perfect way to reflect our mission, and it was definitely a great place to begin as well. The remote tribal area of Mekelle in Northern Ethiopia is where the greatest poverty in the world exists. Poverty is one of the barriers to education for women, especially those with a disability. In Mekelle, blind women are required to leave their school at the age of 18, which typically leads to physical and sexual abuse. Seeing the need for a haven for these young women, the Great Commission Ministries built a home where they could continue learning how to live with blindness.
The Great Commission Ministries was awarded a $500 grant to provide 38 volumes of Braille for their home library across several different subjects, including English, Civics, History, and Economics. Providing additional education and safety gives these young women a chance to live safely in Mekelle.
Exodus Refugee Immigration
Five years later, a grant was awarded to Exodus Refugee Immigration (Exodus) in Indianapolis, Indiana which works with refugees who are victims of persecution, injustice, war, and other human rights violations. Exodus helps refugees from around the world become self-sufficient.
With the $5,000 grant from CofS, Exodus supported more than 50 women through the expansion and enhancement of the educational components of its Refugee Women’s Self-Sufficiency Program. This program helps girls and women gain confidence, continue their education, and feel a sense of empowerment, as well as assists in finding housing, counseling, and healthcare.
Street Business School
This year, as CofS celebrates its 10th Anniversary, the foundation was able to award $100,000 to ten deserving organizations around the world, including the Street Business School. This $10,000 grant is supporting the certification of 72 organizations in Africa to implement a six-month, community classroom that will provide 660 women with the skills they need to be economically independent. With these skills, these women will be able to start their own businesses and thereby send their children to school, lifting their families from poverty.
Now you can see why CofS looks forward to each Spring when the gifts of our donors help us remove barriers to education worldwide. And why we celebrate a Day of Giving every September – on our anniversary – to help grow the funds to continue making this impact.
As we approach and celebrate our 10th Anniversary, we hope you will either join our circle or continue to support our efforts with a gift (www.circleofsisterhood.org). And a great way to help us celebrate would be to jump in to join the virtual celebration on September 30th at 7 pm ET featuring Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author, Sheryl WuDunn. Ms.WuDunn authored the book – Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide – that was the catalyst to the formation of CofS, so we are really excited to have her be part of our celebration.
Click here to receive the official invite to the Zoom event (https://forms.gle/9bv6eisJesSDvBcLA).
As CofS shares its stories leading up to the Day of Giving celebration on September 30th, be sure to also join in the conversation by sharing what good you would do if someone gave you $10,000. Tag CofS on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter, as well as use #BeHerHero to come together to make a difference.
Written by Tracie Hitz, a small business owner, mentor to college students, and supporter of the Circle of Sisterhood.