Did you ever feel the need to change yourself before you could pursue a goal? Maybe you thought you needed to revamp your wardrobe or speak in a different voice or alter your body in order to be included. Most of us have had times in their lives when we felt unworthy. Yet, in those moments, hearing someone tell us “you are enough” can allow us to move forward with confidence and courage.
That’s why Whitney Saxon decided to launch The Letter Project, which encourages women of all ages to send handwritten letters of encouragement to girls around the world. She says their message is simple: We believe in you! You are enough! The Letter Project is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and more than 1,000 women from four different continents have joined the project in the past year.
Another grantee across the world in Cameroon, Delphine Konda, started an initiative to help girls reach their potential. The Girls Excel Club aims to help create a world where girls are safe, educated and healthy. Delphine’s project involves comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education. They also instill leadership skills and encourage learning from their peers through making low cost, eco-friendly and reusable sanitary pads together.
Today we honor our most recent grantees who believe in the potential of those around them. Their extraordinary grassroots projects are lifting others up, and helping communities reach their potential.
Michael Margai’s project, The Sierra Leone Entrepreneurial and Leadership Foundation (“SELF”), unleashes the untapped potential of youth in Freetown, Sierra Leone. They use mentorship, training in interview techniques and entrepreneurship workshops to help the young people expand their leadership skills and build careers.
The Shade Tree Project, founded by Myra Bresnahan, works to empower Mozambicans living with albinism through improved health, economics and education. The project developed a broad spectrum 30 SPF all-natural sunscreen using fair-trade ingredients sustainably sourced in Africa, which will be produced in Mozambique by people with albinism.
Journey Beyond, an organization based in Maryland serving youth with limited financial resources in Southern Maryland and Baltimore City, will take 20 middle and high school students to Peru to volunteer with an orphanage there.
Polly Mueller, an elementary school teacher in Wisconsin for 15 years, is working with her principal Sulayman Mareneh to construct an early childhood building in Wellengara Ba, Gambia for over 148 students to learn inside.
Joshua Ouma and his fellow high school students train other students and community members in Kanyawegi Village in Kisumu, Kenya in farming techniques to create awareness about conservation and ensure food security.
Two Percent Project is a teen pregnancy and parenting resource center serving Prince William and Fairfax counties in Northern Virginia. They help clients with education completion plans, workforce development and employment as well as provide guidance on maintaining healthy relationships.
Alyssa Wermers founded the Lumos Counseling and Education Center to increase access to mental health services in Firestone, Colorado. Alyssa provides training to Masters level counseling and social work students and, in turn, they provide low cost, high quality therapy for people in the community.
The Commission for Elder Abuse and Neglect Specialists provides education and training for professionals about issues related to abuse and neglect specific to dementia. The project, based in Portland, Oregon, targets medical and mental health professionals, law enforcement and state prosecutors.
Peace Mlauli’s construction project supports the rural community’s health and sanitation by providing pit latrines and urinals for Nthabza Primary School in Lilongwe, Malawi.
In Mombasa, Kenya, Antony Ojukwu started the Aojukwu Basketball Foundation, which will train 12 emerging basketball coaches with the knowledge and skills they need to impart basketball and life skills to 10 girls each.
Mama Sabina Health Centre works to reduce, mitigate and prevent diseases in Kisebere Village, Uganda through community health education, prevention and sanitation.
Give a Kid a Smile based in Rubaga Division, Uganda improves oral health care in public primary schools through oral health education, dental checkups and treatment.
Is it your calling to lift up and encourage others? We hope you apply for a grant with the Pollination Project because we believe in you!