There are more sings of acknowledgement and respect towards our rights as women than there were fifty years ago and that is a reason to celebrate this month even more. Check out some of the best ways you can celebrate women during Women’s Month.
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Women Like Us Foundation supports women who are making a difference for humanity and specifically women who have created charities that we believe are meaningful and impactful in making the world a better place for all of us. Laura Henderson is one of those women. Listen to her interview on Women of Focus, WFYI Public Radio. Hosted by Jill Ditmire. She's nourishing bodies and souls in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Growing Places Indy was launched by Laura Henderson, executive director, in 2009 and gained 501c3 status in 2012. In 2009, the director of White River State Park reached out to Laura and her family to start a vegetable garden. There was no specific vision or plan, but there was a space available for the endeavor in Indianapolis. Laura saw the opportunity to use the high-profile location to engage the community in conversations about food, where it comes from, farming practices and our food system. In the first year of the operation, she also recognized for more vegetable farmers to serve the Central Indiana market. This prompted her to imagine using her Slow Food Garden in White River State Park as a training ground for future urban farmers.
Watch for Laura's story in the upcoming Women Like Us Book due out Spring, 2016.
Kim Dewitt- "I knew the scars I carried within me could enable me to be a voice for others."
Women Like Us. Three Journeys. One Mission. To Change the World.
The Women Like Us Foundation Documentary is Coming Soon!
Women Like Us Foundation is a non-profit organization supporting women’s charitable leadership. Together we’re helping women change the world.
The Women Like Us Foundation has traveled to the Olmalaika Home and spent time understanding the girls' needs. We have supported the program and provided funds for necessities, such as clean water through a newly built water tank. We will be returning, once again, to Olmalaika Home in June of 2016. To learn more about Kim Dewitt and her mission, visit our website at www.womenlikeusfoundation.org
“As a child I had been exposed to the ways of the Maasai tribe (…). I remember being separated from my family and led into the center of the women and girls. Later being returned with the red ocher painted on my face and beadwork hanging around my neck, I had no idea at that age that all the singing and dancing was really covering up a terrible deed – female genital mutilation.”
“The Maasai girls in Kenya, and girls in general around the world, need a voice and someone who can understand them. I knew then that the scars I carry within me enabled me to be a voice for them. There is a home now in Sekenani, Kenya filled with giggles and hugs coming from 38 little girls. It is called the OlMalaika Home – meaning “angel.” It’s a home for young Maasai girls between the ages of 5-12 that are at high risk of FGM and early childhood marriage. I like to say, “it is a home where little angels dwell.” –Kim Dewitt
The mission of Olmalaika Home is to house and protect young disadvantaged Maasai girls, providing a warm, nurturing environment. The home hopes to guide these young women, to see themselves as persons of value, to foster respect and appreciation for their peers, teachers, leaders, and culture, and to enable them to be a generation of educated, productive, respected and valuable young women.
There is a growing need for medical programs, educational development, additional counseling services, tutoring assistance, and living space. Donations of all sizes are welcome. Even the smallest amount can make the difference in someone's life.
By: Sommer Bannan
Kim was raised in Kenya and has spent 18+ years of her life there. She is responsible for THE OLMALAIKA HOME, mission trips, sponsorship programs, and is passionate about the people of Kenya and ending female genital mutilation/early childhood marriage. Read her interview as she shares her story & how Women Like Us Foundation has helped her!
Tell us a little bit about yourself & your story
When I was two years old my parents accepted a call to go as missionaries to Kenya, and I spent most of my childhood there, After almost 12 years of being at home in Kenya my parents accepted a call to Beirut Lebanon. My life changed dramatically. We lived their during some of the worst years of their civil war, spending days in bomb shelters and hearing bullets and rockets whistle by, we were finally evacuated to the island of Cyprus. I flew from Cyprus to boarding school in Singapore for 2 years. Those were some of the hardest years of my life. I was far from home, the only American student raised in Kenya. I looked at life differently than most around me - I realized then that my heart was Kenyan. My parents moved back to the US my Junior year in high school and I vowed that when I was old enough I would head back to the country that held my heart (Kenya)In 1999 my husband and I accepted a position in Kenya and moved back with our three young children . I was thrilled! In 2005 our family moved back to the US, and God opened a door for me in 2006 to be able to take medical/dental groups to Kenya and opened the door for me to be able to work with young Maasai girls at high risk of FGM and early childhood marriage.
Why do you do what you are doing?
Tell us about your organization & what it does?
Global Village Ministries is a Christian non-profit 501(c)(3) organization registered in the US that provides medical and dental care in Kenya, plus long term projects that include educational opportunities for children and THE OLMALAIKA HOME - which is a home for young Maasai girls at high risk of genital mutilation (FGM) and early childhood marriage.
The mission of THE OLMALAIKA HOME - is to house and protect young disadvantaged Maasai girls, providing a warm, nurturing and loving environment; guiding them to see themselves as persons of value through God's eyes; fostering respect and appreciation for their peers, teachers, leaders, and culture, enabling them to be a generation of educated, productive, respected and valuable young women. We currently have 28 girls ages 5-17 living at the home and attending school.
How has Women Like Us Foundation supported you?
They came to visit our home and participated in the daily activities along side the girls. They donated funds to purchase water tanks and piping to enable us to have water on the property. They continue to support and bring about awareness of FGM and early childhood marriage on their website and via the documentary they are producing. They have encouraged and inspired me personally in so many ways.
Thank you for taking the time to read this! If you'd like to help spread the word about our efforts, please share this over Social Media and you can also donate funds here.
Author, public speaker, and philanthropist Lorene Burkhart is an exceptional Woman Like Us. Lorene attended Purdue University and later decided to pursue teaching, much like many women of her generation. But unlike most at the time, Lorene became a trailblazer, pushing the boundaries to start her own financial business for women. Soon, she decided to give back to the community, which is where our paths crossed. I’ve always admired Lorene’s work, and this is why she was chosen as one of the first for our WLU interview series. We sat down to discuss her passions, experiences, and advice for amazing Women Like Us.
What have you always been passionate about?
Lorene Burkhart: My real passion and the one word that describes me is ‘teacher.' Everything in my life that I've done at some point has involved gathering information and giving it out. I have been and still am a mentor, been part of university boards of trustees and have had honorary doctorates and degrees. Basically, all revolving around teaching.
What would you say has been most rewarding throughout this process?
LB: I’ve enjoyed the opportunity of mentoring young women and people who've worked with me at different times and influence their thinking to be more open in the way they approach things. And it's been very rewarding to have people tell me that they've followed me and watched the way I do things. It's exciting to know that you can have that kind of influence.
What words of wisdom would you like to share with women reading this?
LB: I am particularly concerned about how young women see themselves as becoming involved in government, running for office, realizing that they have the responsibility to step forward if they believe in something. I would like to see young women get involved in politics. Step forward if you believe in something. Know what kind of leader you are going to be and then communicate that effectively.
What’s your take away message for them?
LB: I think women are sometimes too hesitant to shine their own light, for some reason they think they are bragging on themselves. But if you don’t tell people what you do and what's important to you, how are they going to know it? Be true to yourself, if you have a particular skill, talent, or passion, be proud of it and find how to make it work for you and to have it be your signature of whatever it is that you do well. Let it shine who you are and what's important to you.
Lorene’s Bio: Author and speaker Lorene McCormick Burkhart is known for her leadership and philanthropy throughout Indiana and the Midwest. Burkhart has used her creative problem solving skills and talents throughout her career as a teacher, broadcaster, civic leader, and corporate executive and continues to inspire others to advocate causes for the betterment of humankind. She has served Girls Inc. at the national level and has served locally on more than 25 boards in the past 20 years, ranging from arts, girl and women’s support groups, education, health and elder services. Lorene's Twitter