We look at the burdens women must bear in the aftermath of natural disasters, introduce you to Indego Africa, our June program, and share great news about chapters and programs.
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Women at greater risk in disasters like Nepal quake

Our thoughts and prayers are with our programs, their staff and the women and girls they serve in Nepal. So many have been impacted and the worst may be yet to come as they struggle to recover. Women will bear the brunt of the loss and rebuilding of homes, lives, and businesses. Beth Ellen Holimon, executive director, explores this burden in her blog post this month. And keep watching Facebook and Twitter, where we will keep you in the loop as we have information from our programs on their situations. 

Read Beth Ellen's full blog post
Featured Program for June

Indego Africa

Indego Africa is a social enterprise in Rwanda that empowers women through training and education. Female artisans learn skills in both their craft and business and are able to sell their products through a highly successful online marketplace. Some students show greater promise and it is to help them fulfill their potential that Indego Africa developed the idea of the Leadership Academy.

Our grant will fund the Leadership Academy for two years and provide 106 women — 100 students, four teachers and two teaching assistants — with the knowledge and skills to excel as independent businesswomen and drive economic and social progress in communities across Rwanda.

— More about the program
— Hangout with Indego Africa on June 5 at 2 p.m. - Register to get updates and live link via email


3 things you need to know
(about Indego Africa)

A majority of Indego Africa’s artisan partners now hold prominent leadership roles in their cooperatives and communities, including president of the Parents’ Association, development officer at the National Women’s Council, president of Avega Agahoza (Rwandan Genocide Widows Association) and vice president of the Youth Council. These are women poised to engage the global markets on their own terms as independent businesswomen. Indego Africa’s Leadership Academy and other reimagined training initiatives are intended to take advantage of this new and inspiring reality.

Matt Mitro grew up in Africa. His family (Matt's father was on assignment with Chevron) saw the entrepreneurial spirit of African women artisans. They also saw how hard they worked to scrape together a living when they had no access to markets or education to improve their businesses. In 2006, Matt gave up his career as a lawyer and founded Indego Africa. 

Why Rwanda? Indego Africa launched its initial operations in Rwanda because of its strong business and regulatory environment, its lack of corruption and the presence of export-ready female artisans. Indego Africa pools 100 percent of its profits from product sales with grants and donations to fund job skills training programs for its artisan partners in business management, technology, entrepreneurship and literacy.


Leadership News

NEW REGIONAL CO-LEADER: Memory Blodgett has accepted the role of co-leader in the Northwest Region, working alongside Alissa Johnson. Memory lives in Boise, ID, where she has been an active DFW member since 2011. Memory is the author of numerous books and articles on business and workplace issues, including sexual harassment, management training, and business development. Memory replaces Theresa Beaver, who had served as co-leader of the region since August 2014. 
NC fundraiser nets more than $8,800: The Western North Carolina chapters of Dining for Women, led by Asheville Chapter Leader Sue Fernbach, top photo, held an incredibly successful fundraiser in April. With more than 100 guests in attendance for the "Sunset Soiree", the group enjoyed an extensive auction, a yummy looking buffet, remarks from Marsha Wallace and Beth Ellen Holimon and, as promised, a stellar sunset. The event raised $8,700, increased awareness of Dining for Women in the WNC market through news coverage and brought several new members into local chapters. Great job, Sue, the event team, and all the members of the five WNC chapters.

Program News

MN MD reports on training trip to MamaBaby Haiti
Dr. Leslee Jaeger, an OB/GYN in Minneapolis and a DFW chapter leader, recently returned from a medical mission trip to work with the clinic staff of MamaBaby Haiti. There she taught the staff screening techniques for cervical cancer. She notes that while the rates of maternal death are dropping thanks to programs like MBH and so many others in the developing world, that cervical cancer rates are rising. Read her observations. 
Meet our Smiles on Wings Scholarship Girls
Smiles on Wings was our December 2013 featured program. The scholarships we funded will ensure that five promising students - all from the Karen tribe in Thailand - will receive a full college education and return to their villages to teach or heal others. Meet our girls through these brief bios.
Recovering from Ebola
When Ebola came to Mali, (Project) Muso was on the frontlines. In the second of our three-part series on the outbreak, learn how Muso contributed to the fight to stop Ebola and what they've learned about the weaknesses of the Mali health care system in the process. Read the second of three parts from Education Materials Coordinator Chris Worthy.
Reconnecting with our programs

Each month, we immerse ourselves in information about that month’s program, watch videos, view the Hangouts, and raise money. But as important as that program seems at the time, we are less connected with their progress as time goes on. In May, to address that gap, we started Impact Hangouts, to take a fresh look at past programs, how they've grown and expanded since our grant and the continuing impact they’ve been able to have. Our first was the compelling story of One Acre Fund, which planned and achieved incredible growth since our grant in 2009. 

Staff news

COMMUNICATIONS TRANSITION: We want to thank Laura Haight for her three years of service to Dining for Women as our communications consultant.  She elevated DFW’s standard of work in the website, newsletters, social media, and almost everything in written word that DFW has produced.  Laura will be putting more work into her consulting firm and managing an occasional project for us.  We wish Laura the best in her future endeavors.

We will keep you apprised of any staff changes in regards to communications as they occur.  Please continue to use

Upcoming Events

Join us at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 5, for a conversation with Karen Yelik, CEO of Indego Africa. We'll be talking about how their leadership academy will identify and develop young artisans into agents for change and community leaders. Register now on Google Plus  and get notified as soon as the Hangout link goes live. Or watch on demand whenever you're ready.

On-Demand Events

The cookstoves provided by RIPPLE Africa use 66 percent less wood, produce a hot cooking fire with less smoke and danger, reduce the deforestation of the Rwandan countryside and save dozens of hours per woman per week just in wood-gathering alone. We learned that and much more in our conversation with Kay Yoder of RIPPLE Africa. Watch it on demand.

Milestones and more

Massillon (OH)

A surprise Skype with co-founders Marsha Wallace and Barb Collins was the icing on the cake at this chapter's celebration of its ninth anniversary in late March. Congratulations to leader Dawn Hansard and all the chapter members.

Sarasota (FL)

Kay Yoder of RIPPLE Africa is also a member of the DFW chapter in Sarasota, FL. So it was fitting that she present her program at last month's meeting. Lois Schaper is the leader who sent us the photo.

Ft. Myers (FL)

This is a big anniversary - it was the second meeting of the new Ft. Myers chapter led by Christy Holimon, mom to our ED - Beth Ellen. So happy 2nd meeting, mom!

Grand Rapids (MI)

The Grand Rapids chapter, led by former regional leader Jill Peirce, "celebrated the women of Malawi" with a tea party last month. 

Eugene (OR)

The Downtown Eugene, OR, chapter celebrated its fifth anniversary in April. Congratulations to leader Nicki Maxwell and all the downtowners.

Cause Marketing

We are excited to bring two new partners in our cause marketing program to your attention. They are:

The Women's Peace Collection, owned by DFW member Sue Fish, is an online fair trade marketplace for jewelry, scarves, baskets, bags and more made by women rebuilding their lives after war, civil strife or to rise above poverty. 

Child’s Cup Full trains and employs refugee women in the West Bank to make handcrafted, eco-friendly, educational toys and other products. 

Learn more about these programs and check out their offerings. Start here!

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Board of Directors

Barb Collins
Co-founder/board chair
Susan Stall
Barbara Wagner
Anne Capestrain
Susan Garrity
Colleen Murphy
Marsha Wallace, co-founder
Sandy Ward

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