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15 May 2010

Change the world: empower a mother this year

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May 15, 2010 Category: Oasis Posted by:



From here to Africa, mothers around the world are striving to have an impact on their children and communities, while often facing the harshest of circumstances. What could be a more fitting way to honor the strong woman in your life than helping another woman build a better life for herself and her family?


While the women you look up to have certainly had to overcome their share of obstacles, women across the globe continue to fight against long odds to break the chains of poverty. Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, but earn 10 percent of the world’s income and own 1 percent of the world’s property, according to statistics from the nonprofit CARE, which works to empower women as a key method of combating global poverty.


However, research also shows that women have a significant role in breaking the cycle of poverty – especially mothers. Children of educated mothers are 40 percent more likely to live past the age of 5. Furthermore, it is mothers who are most likely to ensure that any extra family income goes toward educating their daughters. This is an important decision given the fact that each additional year of school boosts a girl’s future income by as much as 20 percent.


Empowering a mother can mean breaking the cycle of poverty for her family – and sometimes, her entire community – forever. So, while your mother or role model certainly would appreciate a gift to acknowledge how important she has been in your life, a donation of your time or resources will make her proud of the positive influence she has had on your life, and allow you both to make a lasting impact on the life of another.


To have this type of impact, you need to do a little homework to make sure your resources are reaching the people who need them the most. Nowadays, making a donation is as easy as clicking the mouse and entering a few keystrokes. While the act of donating has been simplified, charities are also working harder to educate donors on how their funds will be used to have a real impact in someone’s life. Below are some tips to help you select a worthy charitable cause.


• Make sure your money is going to the right place. Take time to review the organization’s mission, programs and financial information to ensure it is compatible with what you are hoping to support. There are also free online databases, like, that will give you more detailed information about a charity’s finances and activities.


• Even better than the peace of mind achieved through vetting the charity of your choice is being able to follow what your dollars are doing after you’ve donated. This will allow you and the woman you are honoring to take pride and ownership in your donation.


For example, Join My Village, which connects women in the United States with women and families in Malawi, provides donors with stories, videos and journals that allow donors to see how their money is empowering women in poverty. So far, donations to the program have enabled more than 500 women to participate in village savings and loan programs that enable them to save, borrow and start small businesses to earn more money for their families.


• Stretch your dollar. Charities often have special programs that will provide matching grants for your donation, in effect doubling how much you give. General Mills is currently partnering with the nonprofit organization CARE to match donations to Join My Village to fight poverty in Africa.


• If you are unable to make a monetary donation, consider donating your time. At, visitors can also participate in free activities to unlock donations to the organization while learning more about the goals of the program.


• Get excited and educated. There are a lot of good educational materials out there on just about every cause. For example, in the book “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” Pulitzer-Prize winning journalists and husband and wife team Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn lay out methods for ending global poverty through empowering women. It’s an educational and inspirational book for you, and anyone who has inspired you to overcome obstacles and achieve greatness in your own life.


Follow these tips and you can do your part to ensure women around the world, and generations of women to come, will have the resources to empower themselves, their families and their communities. We can all do our part to fight global poverty – one mother at a time.

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