Nelson Mandela says that poverty is not an accident -- it is the result of human actions, and can be, and must be corrected by human actions.
He's dedicated his life to this belief, and to direct actions which support the belief. It's incredible to think that this iconic, Nobel Peace Prize-winning crusader for worldwide justice, equality and democracy was arrested for treason and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964. He was incarcerated for 26 years, and released in 1990.
I have a personal attachment to South Africa. I moved there rather impulsively from my native U.K., when I was a young woman. I went because South Africa was offering a paid stipend to people who would be willing to come there, with a demonstrated skill, and work. I had my certificates in skin therapy, and also in aromatherapy. I did not know that this certification would literally be my passport to creating a global success I could only have dreamed of.
I also did not know at the time that South Africa would become a global symbol of bitter division. Apartheid would not end for many years. Ironically, this divided country is where I met Raymond, my husband, partner and companion in the remarkable journey which has become Dermalogica.
This journey began with our moving to the U.S. and founding 26 years ago, but today the most significant number is 67: Mandela has devoted 67 years to fighting the good fight. Almost seven decades of life dedicated to opposing injustice, and to raising his voice in the spirit of freedom. He's now calling on each of us as individuals to join him in creating change for another. July 18, 2012 is international Nelson Mandela Day, a day for each of us to do our part in creating change for another.
And here's how you can be a change maker in celebration of Nelson Mandela's 67 year commitment. joinFITE, championed by Dermalogica and powered by Kiva.org, aims to create change for women entrepreneurs by giving them access to a loan. In celebration of Mandela Day, we have pre-funded 670 Kiva microloans.
These microloans will enable the women who receive the loans to start or expand businesses which will bring economic empowerment to themselves, their families, and their communities.
We're asking you to engage in the process online by reviewing the profiles of qualified candidates for the loans, identifying a woman and a business venture that especially resonates for you, and "Directing a Microloan" that WE have already funded. There is no cost to individuals -- we're only asking you to participate by choosing who gets a loan on July 18.
Since we founded joinFITE in 2011, we've funded literally thousands of entrepreneurs around the world, all of them women. No one epitomizes the "good fight" more than Nelson Mandela, and joining in has never been simpler, or more powerful. Thank you for taking part in being a changemaker. Please visit www.Kiva.org/women for more information.