This year, I’m choosing to highlight four of my favourite organizations for the holidays; each are a way to offer empowerment, care or safety to women and girls in need. Thank you for considering sharing your resources and attention with them.
Shining Hope for Communities is dedicated to providing in-need communities with the tools to create bright futures. Girls on Fire, founded by Eileen Flannigan, brings literacy, advocacy, time with tribal elders and enriching dialogue to young girls. Such community programs provide resources to further economic opportunity and advance human rights, creating space for individuals to pave personal paths out of poverty.
Founded by a yogi, supported by yoga students and guided by professionals, Exhale to Inhale empowers women who have endured intimate partner violence and sexual assault to heal and reclaim their lives. They offer free weekly yoga at shelters and centers in New York, the Hudson Valley and Connecticut. Your donations help them train and compensate teachers, and raise awareness each year to help more women receive the gift of wellness.
With more than twenty years of on-the-ground experience working with women in countries affected by conflict and war, Women for Women International understands that a comprehensive program addressing the social and economic empowerment of marginalized women is the most effective approach. I’ve had “sisters” for a few years now, for whom I cover the cost of their school each month for just about one dollar a day. We often write to each other, and share the details of our lives and dreams together. In the areas hardest hit by war, it’s a privilege to support a profound change in a woman’s education and perspective.
Founded by Christy Turlington Burns, this maternal health organization links mothers to providers of essential care by addressing three barriers to maternal health: transportation, education and supplies. Her new series, “Giving Birth in America” follows four pregnant women and their healthcare providers, in Florida, Montana and New York during the days leading up to delivery. Together, they navigate the challenges of race, poverty, chronic illness, overuse of medical interventions and other inequalities that can be attributed to the US being the only developed country whose maternal mortality has been consistently on the rise since 1990.