Tackling Women’s Issues in Boston and Abroad

14 Nov

Last Friday we proudly announced our Boston Founding Members, the first 30 Boston-based organizations to join Catchafire. Today we’re in the Massachusetts capital to welcome them in person and celebrate their membership. Over the next few days we’ll be sharing their stories in a series of blog posts. Today we’re featuring three of the Founding 30. Covering education, healthcare and gender equality in the US and Africa, these three terrific organizations are tackling women’s issues in their own unique way:

The Science Club for Girls (SCFG) provides educational programs for girls in underrepresented communities. More specifically, these programs focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for K-12th grade girls. All the programs are free and the girls work closely with mentors who foster leadership, and promote tertiary education and careers in science and technology. SCFG was founded in 1994 by two parents concerned about gender equality in STEM-based industries. Today it serves over 1,000 girls in five cities across Eastern Massachusetts and in Pokuase, Ghana.

SCFG was recognized with one of six national MetLife AfterSchool Innovator Awards in 2010 and was a recipient of the Nonprofit of the Year award from the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce in 2009.

Interested in volunteering as a mentor with SCFG? Read more here.

In 2001 Megan White Mukuria, a New England native and Harvard graduate, traveled to Kenya on a one-way ticket. Her mission: to start businesses for street children. She quickly became a global leader in the issue of menstruation management, having witnessed first-hand the impact of this issue on women in Kenyan society. Fast-forward six years to 2006, Megan founded ZanaAfrica, a public charity that promotes African-led innovation in the areas of healthcare, education and the environment to achieve sustainable and replicable solutions to poverty.

ZanaAfrica now has two major programs underway:

    • Sanitary pads: Each month 868,000 Kenyan girls miss 3.5 million school days. The free distribution of environmentally friendly, locally made sanitary pads is helping to keep Kenyan girls in school.
    • Empowerment and EmpowerNet Clubs: With the help of mentors, these clubs help primary and secondary students to make informed decisions about their sexuality and other important life choices. These clubs include a Microfinance-for-University program crafted to help schoolchildren get into and stay in university.

The organization is always looking for future donors and volunteers. Follow the links to see how you can support their cause.

The Komera Project is alleviating poverty in Rwanda by providing girls with secondary education. These girls, who otherwise would not have received an education, are improving their earning potential, their health and their sense of self-worth. With each additional year of school boosting a girl’s potential earnings by as much as 15 – 25%, The Komera Project is also effectively elevating the position of women in a post-genocide Rwanda where they represent 65% of the population.

How did it start? In 2006, Margaret Butler, a primary school teacher, spent the year in a remote Rwandan village. During this time, she hosted a girls-only “fun run.” At the start of the first race, the crowd cheered “Komera” – “be strong and courageous.” Ten of the runners went on to receive scholarships for secondary school and the The Komera Project was founded. Today the organization supports 35 scholars, providing each with tuition and boarding costs, uniforms, health insurance, travel expenses, and the resources they will need to live comfortably and concentrate on their work.

Visit their website to learn about The Komera Project and how you can get involved.

Tomorrow we will feature ArtVenue and Design Museum Boston, two of our Founding 30 promoting arts and culture in Boston.


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