Throughout my life, I've been lucky enough to meet many inspiring and successful women on various journeys to help others lead a better life. What I've always found most compelling is the dedication and drive I see in them to take up causes on behalf of their fellow women all over the world.
Recently I met someone doing some absolutely amazing work. Elizabeth Scharpf is Chief Instigating Officer of Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE). Elizabeth started SHE after a study she conducted found that girls and adult women are absent from school and work in developing countries up to 50 days a year simply because they lack access to affordable sanitary pads. That's 50 whole days of desperately-needed education and wages lost every year for a reason so unnecessary it boggles the mind.
Elizabeth decided to do something about it. But she's not donating sanitary supplies. Instead she's helping women in developing countries start their own businesses manufacturing sanitary pads from banana fibers (a renewable resource) and selling them at an affordable price to women in their communities. Her approach creates a sustainable local supply for these necessities while providing new and lasting economic opportunities for women trying to lift their families up out of poverty. SHE provides the training and seed money. The women who own these new micro-enterprises take it from there, and everybody wins: for every new SHE business established, 100 jobs are created and 100,000 women gain access to affordable sanitary pads.
But only if we help, because SHE depends on contributions from people who care. Without us, things won't change when they need to very much. So if you're looking for a different kind of holiday gift this season, make a donation to SHE in the name of someone you love. There's no greater way to give back to a world that has given us all so much this year and no more powerful way to spread the real meaning of the season.
Visit the SHE website and make a difference in the lives of women for whom a simple thing like a sanitary pad is sometimes all that stands between their families and a brighter future. Give the world something we can all celebrate.