Friday, October 25, 2013

Feel Good Friday - Pro Mujer

Ever wonder what happens when you invest in women?

As explained on the Pro Mujer website, "Women reinvest 90% of their income into their families to grow businesses, improve their living conditions and provide education and healthcare for their families." This was the hope of school teachers Lynne Patterson, an American, and Carmen Velaso, a Bolivian, when they founded Pro Mujer in Bolivia in 1990.

Their program is more than just business, education and housing loans. Pro mujer also provides women with  business and empowerment training as well as high quality, low cost primary health care. Since it's beginnings, the program has expanded to Nicaragua (1996), Peru (1999), Mexico (2001) and Argentina (2005) and become "a leading women's development, health and microfinance social enterprise that provides women in Latin America with vital services that are typically out of reach but essential to breaking the cycle of poverty."

The results they list on their website are impressive. "Pro Mujer has disbursed more than US$ 1 billion dollars in small loans that averaged $407... provided business and empowerment training, preventive health education and primary healthcare services to approximately 1.6 million women and their 6.4 million children and family members."

Most recently, Pro Mujer joined a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action to promote healthy habits among their clients and enhance the medical services they deliver.

You can read more about the group's origin and clientele in the Christian Science Monitor's Difference Maker article, meet the women on their YouTube page or like them on Facebook to say in the loop.

 You go, girls!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Feel Good Friday - Lava Mae

As a tour guide in San Francisco I'm often asked why there are so many homeless people in the streets. It's a difficult question and my answer is usually that it's a combo of tolerant locals, decent services and good weather. None of this makes life on the streets easy but there's a new bus in town that's going to make it easier for homeless people to stay clean.

Doniece Sandoval is raising money to turn a decommissioned MUNI bus into a mobile shower and sanitation service that reaches the homeless where they are. The project is called Lava Mae - Spanish for "wash me" and a designed to sound like a woman's name. (Perhaps the bus is a sister of Sallie Mae?)

As stated on their website, "In San Francisco, where we are launching our project, there are 6,500 homeless people making the city's streest their home. There are only 8 facilities, each with one or two stalls at most, where they can shower. That's (sic) translates to 16 showers for 3,100+ people."

Although their IndieGoGo campaign has ended, if you'd like to donate to the project to ensure that everyone in San Francisco has the ability to stay clean follow this link.

You can get more details by reading a recent article from the San Francisco Chronicle, watching a short video in which architect Brett Terpeluk explains how exactly you put showers on MUNI or liking their Facebook page to stay in the loop. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Feel Good Friday - Malala Yousafzai

Not only is October 11th a Feel Good Friday, the UN has declared it International Day of the Girl Child.

So let's talk about a girl who's been in the news again lately, Malala Yousafzai. An advocate for the education of girls in Pakistan, she was shot in the head by the Taliban in an effort to silence her. She was 15 at the time.

One year later, not only has she made an incredible recovery but she has also created the Malala Fund to support the rights of girls around the world to go to school and she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

She was recently on the Daily Show to promote her book, "I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban". If you haven't seen it yet, you can watch the interview it here.

On her 16th birthday (July 12, 2013) she gave a speech to the United Nations Youth Assembly which you can watch here and her interview with Christiane Amanpour of CNN will air this Sunday at 7pm EST.

Watch the interviews, buy the book or like the Malala Fund's Facebook page.

If you're interested in learning about more organizations focused on girls, including the Global Women's Water Initiative - the stop on Inspiration Safari - you can read this article from the Huffington Post.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Feel Good Friday - Karma Kitchen

Perhaps it's time to change the name of this blog to Food Good Friday because here comes another story of people making a positive impact with food.

We've talked about programs that feed the hungry - from young kids starting gardens and growing food to college kids redirecting excess food from the dining commons. Well, now here's something wonderful you can do that feeds YOU!

Karma Kitchen is a monthly Sunday brunch that has been taking place at Taste of the Himalayas in Berkeley, California since 2007. What's the big deal about brunch, you ask? There are no prices on the menu and, save for the cooks, the restaurant is staffed by volunteers.

At the end of the meal, your check arrives with a zero balance and the following footnote: "Your meal was a gift from someone who came before you. To keep the chain of gifts alive, we invite you to pay it forward for those who dine after you."

To date Karma Kitchen has served 38703 meals and their self described "volunteer-driven experiment in generosity" shows no sign of stopping. Not only is there a Karma Kitchen in Berkeley, there are also kitchens in Hayward, CA, Washington DC and Chicago!

You can get more background on how it all got started by reading this article from the San Francisco Chronicle or watch a short video from Go Project Films.

Join Inspiration Safari in liking their Facebook page and if you want to go to brunch on Sunday, leave a comment and let's make a date!