The Spark for Women, Everywhere
" I turned my back for one second."
Charlot was in a hurry.
She just returned from working a morning shift and was rushing to now get ready for school. So she dropped off her two-year-old daughter at a neighbor’s and threw a pot of water on the fire so she could shower. She didn't notice her daughter waddling back inside. It wasn't until she heard the pot fall that she realized what happened.
"She didn't scream until I looked at her. She was burned on her arms and legs. When I pulled off her trouser, some of her skin came off with it. I thought she was dead. I thought I lost her. That's when I blacked out. And we woke up in the hospital."
Orphaned when she was ten, Charlot was raised by her four older brothers in Mukuru Kwa Njenga, one of the biggest slums in Nairobi. At sixteen she became a mom. She dropped out of school and began selling charcoal to try and make ends meet.
After saving for two years, she was able to enroll in an adult school. She was trying her best to balance motherhood, school, and work when her daughter fell into her fire.
Charlot herself spent three days in the hospital, suffering a breakdown. "I was so sure I lost her," she recounted, teary-eyed. Her daughter spent two weeks in the hospital and fortunately survived.
While the pandemic has hit everyone hard it has hit women in developing countries the hardest. Women are 50% of the population, but comprise the majority of the extreme poor. From collecting firewood and fetching water, to accessing healthcare, women are forced to hope for the best while being given the least. And it’s only grown more challenging. In 2020, 1 in 20 women globally lost their job.
Your generosity has helped hire over 2,000 people in Africa. Together, these essential workers are caring for two million people every day.
Perhaps what’s most unique about our model is that your gifts support locally-led organizations in Africa who provide job training. Not only is this a culturally appropriate way to help, but your generosity empowers people to fish for a lifetime instead of money shuffled to wasted aid.
As a female entrepreneur myself, I have been inspired watching female-founded organizations in Africa achieve phenomenal impact. But I have also seen them struggle to receive the same level of support as their male peers.
Only 1.9% of all donations in the U.S. go to organizations focused on helping women and girls.
It’s time we reimagine who and how we lift people out of poverty. It starts by giving women leaders who run transformative organizations in Africa the tools, funding, and resources to end extreme poverty for good. Because, when women are positioned to lead, everyone wins.
On Giving Tuesday we will announce a Women's Fund. Our goal is to help women-led nonprofits serve 30 million people currently living in poverty by 2030.
To get this fund started, we decided everything raised this holiday season will be dedicated to the Women's Fund.
I’m writing to you today because I have just been presented with an incredible opportunity for you to double the impact of your giving.
A group of incredible supporters have come together and offered to match every gift, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000. Your donations can be doubled from now until Dec 31st.
This very generous opportunity couldn’t come at a better time.
Together, we can help women leaders get the support they urgently need to help their communities recover from the pandemic. We currently have four women selected in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Togo.