Meet nine re­mark­able women who are chang­ing the world RN.

Meet the nine re­mark­able women who were fi­nal­ists in the ELLE Im­pact2 In­ter­na­tional Award for Fe­male So­cial En­trepreneur­ship.

Elle (Canada) - - #Storyboard - By Noreen Flana­gan

this past spring, Le Comp­toir de L’In­no­va­tion (CDI), a renowned global so­cial-in­vest­ment firm in Paris, asked the ed­i­tors-in-chief of nine edi­tions of ELLE to put to­gether a jury to se­lect a woman from their coun­try who has started a so­cial en­tre­pre­neur­ial busi­ness. A few weeks later, each EIC flew to Paris with their fi­nal­ist to par­tic­i­pate in an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence or­ga­nized by CDI. At a lun­cheon held at Paris City Hall, each fi­nal­ist had three min­utes to present their busi­ness to an es­teemed panel, which was chaired by Paris mayor Anne Hi­dalgo. Later that evening, they had 30 sec­onds each to present their case be­fore 1,000+ po­ten­tial in­vestors. And the win­ner is…. Thato Kgatl­hanye, South Africa Thato Kgatl­hanye has one key mes­sage for young women who want a rich ca­reer and life: “Start a busi­ness that is mean­ing­ful and the work that you do will mat­ter.” The 23-year-old South African founder and CEO of Rethaka was the win­ner of this year’s ELLE Im­pact2 In­ter­na­tional Award for Fe­male So­cial En­trepreneur­ship. At the cer­e­mony, Kgatl­hanye ex­plained the ori­gins of her Re­pur­pose School­bags pro­gram. “There wasn’t an ‘aha’ or light-bulb mo­ment,” she re­called. “My team started by ask­ing our­selves ‘What does it take for a child liv­ing be­low the poverty line in Africa to get ed­u­cated? What are the bar­ri­ers that ex­ist that aren’t vis­i­ble?’ After speak­ing with kids, we dis­cov­ered that many of them walk long dis­tances to school, of­ten re­turn­ing later in the evening when it’s dark. If there is no power, kerosene or can­dles, they can’t do their home­work. We de­cided to cre­ate a school bag made from up­cy­cled plas­tic bags that also has a so­lar-powered light that charges dur­ing the day while the kids walk to school. At night, it can be re­moved and used as a flash­light on a dark­ened road and then later as a light to study by.” More info To date, they have sold 7,000 bags, and the goal for this year is 16,000. If you would like to pur­chase these $25 bags on be­half of a child, class or school, go to re­pur­pos­eschool­bags.com.

Sab­rina Premji, Canada Sab­rina Premji co-founded Ki­dogo, a child­care ini­tia­tive launched in the poor­est ar­eas of East Africa, after she vis­ited a “baby-care cen­tre” in Mlo­longo, a slum just out­side of Nairobi, Kenya. “In these com­mu­ni­ties, moth­ers have three op­tions for day­care,” ex­plained Premji. “They can leave their chil­dren as young as two years old home alone, en­trust their care to an older sib­ling who is pulled from school or drop them off at an un­li­censed baby-care cen­tre for a nom­i­nal fee.” Premji re­called en­ter­ing one of these cen­tres and prac­ti­cally trip­ping over a baby who was bun­dled on the floor along­side 15 to 25 other in­fants. “They were all ly­ing there awake, yet I heard nothing but si­lence,” she ex­plained. “Many were given sleep­ing pills to hush them; oth­ers learned that cry­ing did them no good. After leav­ing the slum, I was so sad and en­raged that some­thing like this could ex­ist. It was in that mo­ment that my co-founder, Afzal Habib, and I asked our­selves ‘Can we provide a higher-qual­ity child­care op­tion for roughly the same price that moth­ers were al­ready pay­ing at the in­for­mal baby-care cen­tres?’ That was the birth­place of Ki­dogo.” So what is Ki­dogo? It’s a sus­tain­able and scal­able busi­ness model that in­volves build­ing best-prac­tice Early Child­hood De­vel­op­ment Cen­tres, or “hubs,” where chil­dren aged six months to six years are pro­vided with qual­ity care and ed­u­ca­tion for less than a dol­lar a day. This is com­bined with a mi­cro-fran­chis­ing pro­gram for lo­cal “mama-preneurs” to open their own child­care “spokes,” or mini day­care cen­tres, in their homes; these are supported—and mon­i­tored—by the hub. “It takes around $5,000 in grant fund­ing to set up each of the hubs, and through child­care fees alone, they are de­signed to be self-sup­port­ing within three to six months,” says Premji. “We’re hop­ing that this model can be repli­cated in other low-in­come com­mu­ni­ties around the world be­cause ev­ery child, no mat­ter where they’re born, de­serves the op­por­tu­nity to reach their full po­ten­tial.” More info Ki­dogo is still in its early days, but through its two hubs and five mama-preneurs, it’s al­ready giv­ing over 200 chil­dren liv­ing in slums the best start to life, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the cru­cial first five years, when 85 per­cent of brain de­vel­op­ment takes place. (ki­dogo.co)

The ELLE EICs chat­ting with Paris mayor Anne Hi­dalgo; the fi­nal­ists with the Paris jury mem­bers (left); the Canadian jury mem­bers who se­lected fi­nal­ist Sab­rina Premji (right)

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