Archive for Social Justice

Meghan Markle, Global Citizen

Many people might have heard of Meghan Markle from her role as Rachel Zane in Suits, or for more recently being known as Prince Harry’s new girlfriend. That description alone might lead you to form assumptions about her character – Hollywood glam, famous celebrity, future royalty, etc., etc. However, Meghan is also a passionate political activist and entrepreneur. She is the founder of fashion/self-empowerment site The Tig. Her site features her own clothing line, articles on travel, food, fashion, and fitness as well as interviews with powerful women and blogs on issues like civil rights and empowerment. “I knew that girls were checking the site to see fashion tips or how to get a stellar blow dry,” Meghan writes about The Tig, “but in reframing the beauty content to include think pieces about self-empowerment, or feature dynamic women such as Fatima Bhutto, I was hoping to integrate social consciousness and subjects of higher value than, let’s say…selfies. A subtle means to pepper in what really matters.”

Meghan Markle, courtesy of The Tig

Meghan Markle, courtesy of The Tig

In addition to running a successful brand website, Meghan is also a global ambassador for World Vision as well as an advocate for UN Women. She writes frequently about the struggle of balancing her two worlds – the stark contrast between her glamourous celebrity lifestyle of excess and her humanitarian work with those who have nothing. She writes, “With fame comes opportunity, but in my opinion, it also includes responsibility – to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings, and if I’m lucky enough – then to inspire.” Meghan Markle is truly an inspiration – for entrepreneurs, women, anybody. She has shown how you can successfully take a luxurious life and use it to bless others through an entrepreneurial spirit.

Watsi – Radically Transparent

Chase AdamA few years ago, Chase Adam was serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Democratic Republic of the Congo when a woman boarded the bus and began asking for donations for her child’s medical treatment.  Because panhandling is so prevalent in that area of the world, Adam was shocked to see all of the natives give the women money for her child.  He realized the natives believed this woman because she had the child’s information and had established a sense of trust with them.  Inspired, Adam returned to the United States with the goal of starting a non-profit to provide healthcare around the world.

However, when Adam returned home, he realized that many non-profits weren’t very efficient and were underfunded.  Adam decided to start a company that was built with an emphasis on impact, efficiency, and transparency.  Watsi, launched in August 2012, is a “global crowdfunding platform for healthcare” – basically a Kickstarter for medical treatments.  People can donate any amount of money to fund medical treatment and care around the world.  Once a patient’s funding goal is met, the patient receives the treatment.  Watsi then updates all of the donors with the patient’s treatment outcome.Watsi Logo

Watsi is different from most non-profits because 100% of the money donated goes directly to people in need.   All of Watsi’s operating expenses are paid for by optional tips or other philanthropists.  Watsi prides itself on being “radically transparent”.  In fact, all of their financial information in public knowledge and can be seen on their Transparency Document on their website (check if out here!).  That way, you can see exactly where your money is going.

After a slow start, Watsi was the first nonprofit to received funding from Y Combinator, a tech company incubator program.  Watsi took off and, within 2 years, raised more than $2 million, all of which went to patients in need.  In 2014, Adam was listed on Forbes list of 30 Under 30: Social Entrepreneurs.  Inspired by the woman on the bus, Adam was able to take an idea he was passionate about and use it to help thousands of people about the world.

Videos Seen Around the World

By the rude bridge that arched the flood

Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled

Here once the embattled farmers stood

And fired the shot heard around the world

The shot heard around the world. It is a phrase heard so often in the United States of America, but few people fully understand what it actually means. It was a single moment that changed the course of history, a decision that impacted the entire world.

When studying the first stages of the American Revolution, I cannot help but wonder if the concept of “being an entrepreneur” goes beyond making money, selling products, or providing a service. I wonder if being an entrepreneur also includes seeing the state of the world and making a conscious decision to make it better. Focusing on changing people and culture, not generating income.

If so, Lila Rose ought to be seen as one of today’s most successful entrepreneurs. I cannot express her success through numbers or diagrams but through influence. She is only twenty-seven years old and yet she has opened the eyes of thousands of people through the use of film and undercover videos–videos seen around the world.

It all began when she founded Live Action at age fifteen. Her group utilized investigative journalism to uncover the threat of abortion clinics, particularly Planned Parenthood, to the defenseless unborn. The shock that followed the release of her very first videos was disturbing. People had no idea–pro-life or not–what exactly was going on behind those doors.

Since then, she has exposed that Planned Parenthood had lied on the media, covered up human trafficking, and even supported sex-selective abortions.

And she’s just getting started.

Live Action is currently working on an especially ugly piece of business in which Planned Parenthood is selling human body parts.

I admire and applaud Lila Rose for her fearless work as an investigative journalist, an entrepreneur. She saw the world–saw a problem–and pooled together innovative ideas and decisive action to solve it. The fight still continues, and not only does she work tirelessly for the sake of the unborn, but also Rose has inspired thousands of pro-life youth–myself included–to take a stand and change the world.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare

To die, and leave their children free

Bid Time and Nature gently spare

The shaft we raise to them and thee

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Concord Hymn

 

Ekisa- Helping the Least of These

Ekisa Blog Header

 

The main language spoken in Uganda is called Luganda. Ekisa, in Luganda, means grace. Grace is a great word to describe the girls who started Ekisa. Emily Worrall and Emily Henderson live in Jinja, Uganda, and they both moved there at a young age. They started an orphanage for children who have special needs and disabilities. The most unique part of the story is that Emily and Emily were from different countries and met on a mission trip to Uganda. However, years later they now run an orphanage together in Uganda. This is a great story of networking and keeping in contact with people that you meet, even if they don’t seem like an important connection at the time. Ekisa now houses 16 children with disabilities. They also hire staff members who are disabled. They want to change the culture and help others to learn to accept those with disabilities. There story is quite amazing, especially since they work in a country that is very unaccepting of children with disabilities. They are one of the only orphanages for disabled children that I have found working in Uganda. They will definitely make a huge impact!

 

The Story of Katie Davis and Amazima Ministries

Katie Davis          Katie Davis was a typical high school student when she took a trip to help in an orphanage in Uganda in 2007.  Katie was born in a well-to-do family, graduated top in her high school class and had even been homecoming queen.  Instead of beginning college right after graduation, she committed to teach kindergarten in Uganda for 10 months, much to the dismay of her parents.  Her commitment to Uganda has now become that of a lifetime.  Katie was greatly impacted by the need she saw in Uganda, especially in regards to children, many of whom could not pay their school fees and did not have enough to eat.  After beginning to dig roots and developing relationships with the people around her, Katie decided to establish Amazima Ministries, which began by providing meals Katie Davis 2
and school fees for children in need outside of Jinja, Uganda.  Katie began renting a house, just so she had an address needed to certify the organization.  As she went about her ministry, Katie came across two girls, a pair of sisters, in need of a place to stay.  She readily invited them into her home and as no family members could be found to take them in, she began the process of adoption.  Katie is now a mother to 13 Ugandan girls in addition to running Amazima.  The organization started out as a miracle, surviving with little financial stability, yet the Lord continued to provide.  Today, Katie continues her ministry of running Amazima and raising 13 girls.  Amazima continues to expand, now providing a sponsorship program, medical services and bed nets that help to prevent malaria.  Katie has become a well-known figure among Christians for her outstanding faith and willingness to go where the Lord called.  She has a book called Kisses from Katie, which I highly recommend (seriously – let me know if you would like to borrow it) which describes her story and faith journey in further detail.  As fearless millennials like Katie follow God’s calling, the world is slowly being bettered.

 uganda2

Sevenly: Helping People Help People

In 2011, Dale Partridge and Aaron Chavez started working on a project together. They officially launched Sevenly in June of 2011. Sevenly is a for- profit social company that helps support many different charities. Each week, Sevenly picks a charity to support. They sell different products and for each product sold, they donate $7 to the charity. $7 per sale is more than 25% of their total revenue. This is a lot higher than most other for- profit social companies.

Dale and Aaron encourage people to continue to support the ministry of the week after they make a purchase. They wanted people to start giving to charities but wanted people, who normally don’t donate to others, to have incentive and to learn about many different ministries. I love Sevenly and have bought several different products from them. Hundreds of thousands of purchases have been made during their 2 years in operation and they have raised at least $2.5 million to date. Sevenly introduces people to new ministries all the time, and helps people branch out in the people that they give money to.

 

 

Do Your Part: The Tok Project

So, I know this person . . .

Last year I had the wonderful opportunity of being involved in Grove City College’s Children’s Theatre production of Seussical. The show was a blast, and I met some fantastic people; one of whom was Hannah List. Anyways, to get to the point, one day after the end of the school year–around graduation and May intersession–I saw Hannah sewing something as she was sitting on a bench with a friend, just outside of Beans on Broad. I asked her what she was working on and so she showed me: it was a neat, vintage, hand-made bowtie, and with that she shared a story . . .

Micah List

micahhhhhh

She told me she was making it for her brother’s business. Micah, her brother, had spent the fall semester of his junior year in Bangkok, Thailand. Near the end of his time there, Micah went out with some friends for a fun night of Karaoke at a local bar. When they arrived they found that the bar was not offering Karaoke as an entertainment option. Instead they were approached by twelve young Thai women with deadening looks of despair in their eyes. These were trafficked women, and they were selling sex. Micah was horrified, but in this moment of pain he was overcome with hope and resolution.

The Tok Project

The word “Tok” in Acholi means “Hat.” Micah’s huge idea was to take his connections and resources to make everything from hats to bowties, and sell them to raise money to help these women. The goal is to help these women get to safe houses, to remove them from the brothels. Micah hopes to also provide these women with jobs making his products. Not only would he pay them fairly, but it would provide the women a way out. A way to make money without selling themselves.

#DYP

Micah’s motto for the business is “Do your part.” He wants people to understand the problem and to contribute to a solution. For each product he sells, 25% is given to help these women. All you have to do is buy a hat, tie, or shirt. For such a new business, their website is surprisingly intuitive and slick. You really should check it out. They also have some of their products for sale on a rack at Beans on Broad. Come by sometime, you may even see Micah hanging out there–he spends a lot of time at Beans these days. Pull him aside, ask him about The Tok Project, and learn how you too can do your part.

#DYP