In honor of International Women’s Day, the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York would like to introduce you to a few of the powerful Jewish women social entrepreneurs we fund through our international grantmaking. Inspired by their Jewish values, our grantee partners improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable women and girls around the world. Here is a snapshot of a few of the women we support and their accomplishments in the last few months:
Anya Cherneff, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Empower Generation
Through Anya’s former work fighting human trafficking and modern slavery, she began considering ways to help women find stable and valuable employment opportunities to reduce their vulnerability to exploitation by traffickers. Anya decided to create an enterprise-based approach to improving women’s economic security in Nepal. Empower Generation enables rural women in Nepal to distribute clean energy solutions in their remote communities. In the past few months, 82 women have been trained to become sales agents, earning their own incomes from the sales of their products. Sales agents learn how to sell, market, and develop sales pitches for life-improving products like portable solar lights, LED bulbs, grain storage bags, sanitary napkins, and draft cookstoves that have a built-in fan and are powered by electricity or a solar powered battery.
Leah Greenspan Hodor and Janis Simon, Co-Founders of Vital Health Africa
Janis and Leah’s previous careers had them separately traveling to Africa and conducting research, which led them to discover and see the devastating health circumstances of too many newborn children in Africa. They met on a tennis court, shared their experiences, and quickly realized they shared a passion. It wasn’t long until Vital Health Africa was created, a humanitarian, medical, and educational mission providing low cost, high impact intervention in maternal, newborn, and child health in Sub-Saharan Africa. Recently, Vital Health Africa conducted Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) trainings for 132 midwifery students in Southern Uganda. HBB teaches the initial steps of neonatal resuscitation to save lives and give a much better start to many babies who struggle to breath at birth. In addition, 12 medical professionals attended a ‘train the trainer’ master training, and are now qualified to teach Helping Babies Survive and another Vital Health Africa program, Essential Care for Every Baby.
Ayla Schlosser, Founder and CEO of Resonate
From a young age Ayla was very often in the kitchen with her German-Jewish grandmother who taught her the essence of Judaism. Her grandmother showed her the power of storytelling and the skills needed in order to tell one’s story. Ayla discovered that it’s not enough to ask women to speak up; they have to have the tools to make their voices resonate. Her organization trains women to reframe what they believe to be possible, building on their strengths, and creating change in their lives and communities in East Africa. In the past year, Resonate trained 1,279 participants and partnered with 12 organizations in East Africa. An end-of-year survey of a sample of the participants revealed that 38% had started businesses, 24% received a promotion or new academic opportunity, and 45% were leading a team, group, or project.
Thanks to women like Anya, Leah, Janis, and Ayla, the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York has an international reach impacting over 15,000 women and girls. As a community, we empower some of the most vulnerable and support some of the most inspiring.
For a list of our 11 current Isha Koach Global grantees go to: http://www.jwfny.org/programs-initiatives/isha-koach/. To learn about our grantee partners in the United States and Israel go to: http://www.jwfny.org/grants/current-grants/.