10th Anniversary Newsletter February 2019
“I was looking for an organisation, which would need me, not for what I have, but for what I know! This is why I have chosen to join Giving Women.” Magda Zaorska, Giving Woman, Zurich chapter
Dear Members and Friends,
In celebration of our 10th anniversary year, we are putting on monthly events, in addition to our educational programme and project evenings, to mark this important milestone for Giving Women.
It is also a moment to take stock of our achievements and highlight the contribution of our members and our projects. Every six weeks I will be writing a newsletter, which will keep you informed of our evolving 10th anniversary programme as well as share the stories of our unsung heroes from our ever-growing community of members and project owners, and reveal some of our hidden successes.
The last ten years have been an incredible journey for us all. As with all ambitious visions the path has not always been without its challenges. However, the commitment, enthusiasm and faith of our members and devoted ExCom have allowed us to remain dedicated to providing professional support to projects, delivering quality events to our community, and developing effective processes for our organisation that we can all be proud of. Every day we learn something new, continue to meet inspirational people who help us grow and continue to shift the dial towards making this world a fairer and safer place for vulnerable girls and women.
Upcoming 10th Anniversary Events:
- To start this exciting year, we are honouring the commitment we made at our annual conference in October to continue the campaign for an ethical Fashion Industry:
Monday, 25th February, 12.15-14.15, Fashion Revolution, the campaign continues, at the Impact Hub Geneva
- On International Women’s day, 8th March, in collaboration with Festival du film et forum international sur les droits humains, FIFDH, we are hosting within the programme of the festival a conversation with Pat Mitchell, media guru, lifelong activist, curator of Ted Women the list goes on. The Giving Women members are invited to this lunch time conversation, which I know will be inspiring, informative and impactful. Meagan Fallone, CEO of Barefoot College and long-standing Giving Women member will be joining me in leading the conversation with Pat Mitchell:
Friday, 8th March,12:30-14:00, Pat Mitchell in Conversation with Giving Women,Theatre Pitoeff, rue de Carouge
Invitations to follow.
Events being planned:
- Film Screening, Les Guerrières de la Paix, April TBC
- Film screening and conversation/panel discussion on the effect of climate change on vulnerable women, May TBC
How can you get involved in the celebration of our 10th Anniversary?
(Many more ways to get involved in ongoing GW activities and committees below…)
- Participation on the 10th-anniversary committee
- Contribution to a 10th anniversary blog which we will be setting up on our website, if you are a GW member or a project owner tell us your stories: Projects you are involved; a GW experience and how his has impacted your work/life; tell us about a woman /girl that has inspired you. The power of storytelling to motivate others is priceless.
To get you started here is a story which is a small example of the hidden impact of our work.
How Giving Women and a teapot created the “Giving Women ripple effect”
One of our early and very innovative projects was Women on Wheels from the Azad Foundation. Meenu Vedera, the pioneering and courageous founder, established a programme to train the poorest women from the Delhi slums to become taxi drivers. When Elianna evaluated the project in 2012, she noted that Women on Wheels ticked so many boxes for us: It was challenging the traditional beliefs of what jobs were possible and appropriate for women; it had an innovative and holistic approach to poverty alleviation through women’s economic empowerment, which went far beyond a vocational training programme; it was a hybrid organization that had set up a for profit taxi company to provide jobs and help fund the not-for-profit training programme and much more. The Giving Women project circle helped this organisation to write their first annual report, which was instrumental for them to find the funding they needed to expand their work to other cities. We closed the project circle but stayed in contact with Meenu and introduced the organization to various funders. Women on Wheels has now expanded to Jaipur, Kolkata, Ahmadabad, Bangalore, and Indore.
In 2017 the Giving Women 7th Annual Conference was on the economic autonomy of vulnerable women. We wanted to highlight innovative programmes that were giving women access to dignified work and also building financial autonomy. Meenu and Women on Wheels was a perfect fit. We invited Meenu, who told her story and the story of the women that had gone through the programme.
When the conference ended Meenu spent a couple of days with us and we enjoyed many hours of exchange in my kitchen over many cups of tea made in an IKEA teapot much admired by Meenu. I took note and at the next opportunity sent her a teapot. The teapot made it in one piece all the way to Delhi but broke as it was being handed over. Determined that Meenu should receive her teapot, a second one was purchased and carefully wrapped and with great care, I handed it over safe and in one piece in the beautiful gardens of Bikaner House in Delhi. At that exchange of gifts and news, I mentioned my daughter, Elianna’s, Mastermom initiative. Meenu enthusiastically responded by asking her to speak on a panel at a two-day conference that she was organising on non-traditional livelihoods for marginalised women. The aim of her conference, much like that of Giving Women’s a year before, was to challenge the limited view of what women are capable of and question what systems and structures were needed to ensure that women entering new or unfamiliar territory for work are able to sustain this work safely and happily.
The Giving Women connection, however, does not end there. Meenu was organising this conference with Theo Sowa, CEO of the African Women’s Development Fund, who had also spoken at our 7th Annual Giving Women conference, and where she had met Meenu. In addition, a Barefoot College solar Mama, trained at Barefoot college, a past GW project and run by one of our long-standing GW members, Meagan Fallone, was also invited to share her story as a woman working in a non-traditional livelihood as a solar engineer. The ripples go on…
The openness and reach of the Giving Women community have created many often quiet synergies many of which remain unsung. I invite our community to share such connections, or ways that the GW community has made a difference in your life or the lives of those around you.
Please share your stories with me, Atalanti Moquette, Founder and Vice-chair, Giving Women.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the past 10 years, and here is to 10 more years of strong collaboration between women for profound impact on the lives of women and girls in need globally!