Do you ever feel like the connections we make in life sometimes seems like fate? The more I work in this tiny niche of social good travel bloggers, the more amazed I am by the incredible friendships and network I’ve made online. I’ve met countless inspiring bloggers and humanitarians online through blogging and social media. One such person is Maria Russo, founder of the award-wining online media platform for travel and social good, The Culture-ist and the non-profit Humanity Unified InternationalIt all happened because I follow her on Instagram where I noticed the amazing photographs her organization was posting on women and girls in Rwanda.

A young girl in Rwanda. Photo by Arielle Lozada

A young girl in Rwanda. Photo by Arielle Lozada

I commented on the photos and began a relationship online that resulted in an interview  and a post on her and her husband Anthony’s work as the founders of Humanity Unified and Humanity Unified International. I was instantly drawn to Maria and Anthony’s passion for making the world a better place by starting at the grassroots level by improving the lives of women and girls in Rwanda.

The more I work in social good and advocacy, the more I understand how these kinds of programs work. It is a proven that investing in women makes a tremendous amount of sense and investing wisely in programs that provide training, education, health and sustainable agricultural practices is even better. Women invest 90% of their income back into their families while men invest approximately 30 percent (UNAC).

On a personal level, like everyone I am bombarded with requests for donations every day thus I choose my charities wisely. It is a arduous task since I would love to donate to every single cause I write about or hear but obviously I have to pick and choose which causes are most important to me. I donate locally to help our schools and families living in poverty, and I also donate quite a bit abroad.

The more I travel and witness the impact of poverty on women and girls and the additional barriers they face in creating a better life, the more I desire to give them opportunities to create a better one. I also prefer to create sustainable change, not just a band-aid approach that won’t fix the problem. This is why I love the work that Humanity Unified is doing so much. 100% of my investment will go towards empowering women and creating sustainable change.

I will never meet the woman who I am supporting but in my heart I will know that far away, in Rwanda my donation has helped change her  life. That is an incredible feeling! Whether it be vaccines for a child in Nigeria, a clean birth kit for $20 for an expectant mom in Laos or $100 to provide training for a woman in Rwanda, I’ve made a difference.

Even using my words to spread awareness by writing this post has helped and that is free.

Photo by Arnelle Lozada

Photo by Arnelle Lozada

This week, Humanity Unified International launched their first fundraiser on Generosity by Indiegogo to develop funding for their project in Rwanda. Here are some details on the campaign and how you can help.

Humanity Unified International is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to lifting vulnerable populations out of poverty through education, food security programs and economic opportunities.

Over the past year we’ve been working in Rwanda with a local organization to plan a farming cooperative project that will benefit 100 women living in extreme poverty. The project will provide health, rights and business education along with management skills training to help the women properly run the farming cooperative as a team. High quality seeds, storage units and an irrigation system will be purchased to help triple yields over the next year (beginning July, 2016) so that these women can begin to thrive as farmers and rise above poverty.

The effect of empowering these women extends to their families and as a result more than 500 children can attend school and 100 families can afford to purchase health insurance each year and become food secure.

Photo by Arielle Lozada

Photo by Arielle Lozada

Last month, we had the privilege of meeting many of the women in their homes to learn about their lives and the struggles they encounter on a daily basis. Many of the women said their families could go days without food if they or their husbands could not find steady work. Other basic needs such as access to clean water, healthcare and education were also out of reach for many families.

Please take a moment to view this beautiful video of the women we met in Rwanda and what the campaign means.

The Gift of Empowerment

Over the next year we need $80,000 to make this project happen. Before we get rolling in July, we want to secure $15,000 of our total goal.

The first phase of the project will provide health, rights and business education for 100 women. This includes rent for the training center, fees for training experts, transportation (the women are too poor to afford public transportation) and materials such as pencils, notebooks and whiteboards. It will also fund an irrigation system and farming tools for the women.

Women farmers in Rwanda. Photo by Arnelle Lozada

Women farmers in Rwanda. Photo by Arnelle Lozada

How Your Donations are Used:

$4,000 will fund compensation for experts and advocacy organizations for each of the trainings (this includes gender equality training for husbands of the women).

$160 to fund materials for women for the trainings

$240 to fund presentation materials and computer maintenance for trainings

$1,600 will fund fees for the training center

$300 to fund transportation for the women to all trainings

$2,500 to fund compensation (for 6 months) for a local education officer to oversee training programs

$6,200 to fund irrigation pumps and farming tools for the women

Photo by Arielle Lozada

Photo by Arielle Lozada

Let’s Do This Together

Women invest 90 percent back into their families while men invest approximately 30 percent (UNAC). The goal of this project is to not only empower our beautiful women but to uplift an entire family from poverty, which is why we invest in women first.

Africa’s growing population and expanding middle class are creating a domestic market for food products that will be worth $1 trillion by 2030 (IFAD). With quality seeds, an irrigation system, proper tools, and management training, our farmers will have all they need to thrive in this market. A buyer has already been secured for the cooperative and as part of the business training, the women will also sell some of the crops from their harvest at local markets.

This group of women have become our family and we are committed and dedicated to investing in their futures. The goal is to provide them with the step up needed to flourish through a self-sustaining income and through a supportive network of other women farmers.

Join us today in giving empowerment and securing the futures of our amazing women and their families.

To learn more about the campaign, click here. 


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.