Malala Fund

Week 46: Malala Fund

Hi there GIVE52’ers! I am sure you know about the incredible young woman and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai. This week, GIVE52 is honoring her and her work at the Malala Fund. 

The mission of the Malala Fund is “a world where every girl can complete 12 years of safe, quality education”. Malala is a Pakistani student who began her fight for girl’s education when she was just 11 years old. Eleven! I don't know what you were worrying about at eleven, but my worries revolved around skateboarding the biggest hills I could find, not whether I would be allowed to go to school or not.

For a long time, I took my education for granted. It was considered obvious that I would graduate high school, let alone have access to quality elementary education. But around the world, some girls are not as lucky. 

Secondary education for girls can transform communities, countries and our world.
It is an investment in economic growth, a healthier workforce, lasting peace and the future of our planet.
— Malala Fund

Malala survived being shot in the head by the Taliban, an assassination attempt, at the age of 15. The youngest ever Nobel laureate, she then founded the Malala Fund with her father.

Click here to give to Malala Fund

I raise up my voice-not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard...we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.
— Malala Yousafzai

The Malala Fund advocates “at local, national and international levels for resources and policy changes needed to ensure all girls complete 12 years of school”. 

They invest in organizations and education leaders in developing countries, “the people who best understand girls in their communities”, to ensure that girls have access to secondary education where they currently do not. They currently focus on education initiatives in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and countries housing Syrian refugees. Malala Fund also works in Nairobi’s slums, supporting training in technology and life skills.

Here's to education and making sure half of us are not held back.
Have a wonderful week!

Mindfulness & Earthchild South Africa

Week 45: Mindfulness & Earthchild South Africa

Hi GIVE52'ers! This week, we are getting mindful. Teaching mindfulness in schools, practices like meditation, yoga, tai chi, or other relaxation techniques, seems to decrease anxiety and reactivity and improve emotional awareness and well-being

This week, I encourage you to research an organization providing mindful practices in your area. Maybe it’s a community garden program for kids, a meditation workshop that replaces traditional detention, or an after school yoga elective in your local elementary school. 

As some of you know, I was born in South Africa, and I was delighted to learn about my pick for this week, Earthchild, from my wonderful cousin Bess. They work with children in South Africa on programs that instill mindfulness and a connection with nature in environments that can sometimes be chaotic otherwise. 

Earthchild’s project coordinators work within existing school structures to introduce and maintain their programs, which include teacher conventions, yoga classes, hiking clubs, and other classroom activities. Their programs “compliment the academic curriculum helping to develop practical skills for healthy and holistic living, such as stress management techniques or permaculture to use at school and in their lives”. They currently serve over 2,000 children and work in 8 schools in Khayelitsha and Lavender Hill in South Africa.

Over the years, I have come to appreciate mindfulness practice in my own life in the form of a gratitude journal and meditation. I feel it has had a massive positive impact in my own life and would love to equip children, especially those who are in difficult environments, with these simple tools of reflection and calm.

Hit reply and let me know if you find a local program! I’d love to hear about the work they are doing.

Have a lovely week!


Americans for the Arts

Week 44: Americans for the Arts

Hi GIVE52’ers, Happy Halloween! This week is all about the arts. 

Art is a huge part of my life. My husband is a graphic artist and our home is filled to the brim with the colorful work of his and his friends. He has been an artist his whole life, painting on the bottom of his friends’ surfboards, doodling on the back of notebooks, and now, he makes a living doing what he loves most. But art is even more than creating imagery, painting on a canvas, or playing beautiful note. It is a way of being in the world. 

I believe we all have the capacity to be artists, especially if we define art as Seth does:

An artists is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artists takes it personally.
Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does.
Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.
— Seth Godin

This is why art and arts education is so important. It is a lens in which we can choose to see the world around us. That is why, this week’s organization is Americans for the Arts.

Tyler Spangler - digital collage

Tyler Spangler - digital collage

Their mission is to “serve, advance, and lead the network of organizations and individuals who cultivate, promote, sustain, and support the arts in America”. They work to ensure that every American has access to the transformative power of the arts. 

They work on advocacy to provide access to arts and arts education. Currently, they are fighting hard to save the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) which is set to be eliminated.

The National Endowment for the Arts has provided investment in the arts through its core programs for “dance, design, folk and traditional arts, literature, local arts agencies, media arts, multidisciplinary arts, music, theater, visual arts, and others”. Art programs have grown in areas previously underserved or not served at all, especially in rural and inner-city communities. This is thanks, in part, to the NEA who partners with state arts agencies on, and provides funding for arts programming.

Art means progress, beauty, bravery, and boldness. We must preserve the arts and fight for the opportunity for future generations to benefit from them. 

Here’s to being an artist.

Have a terrific week and Happy Halloween!