Empowering Women Globally
WIL was founded in 2007 by Linda Resnick, Bobbie Gohn and Terri Gelberg, who shared a passion for women’s empowerment and making a difference in people’s life. WIL is a group of diverse women leaders in business, academia and other professions in the Philadelphia area focused on improving the status of women globally. We share a vision that women and their families around the world will one day become safe, healthy and self-supporting leaders in their own communities.
- Offer programs that educate our members on international women’s issues
- Provide microfinance loans to women worldwide through village banks
- Identify well respected international women’s groups and provide grants to support their work
- Take educational and service trips to destinations where we have funded village banks
- WIL has improved the lives of thousands of women worldwide
- WIL funded 15 village banks through our partnership with The International Alliance for women (TIAW)
- WIL sponsors a yearly grant program to further the work of respected International NGOs focused on contributing to women’s empowerment
Village Banks Improve Women’s Lives
- Results: Since 2008, WIL has funded fifteen Village Banks in Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, South Africa, Ghana, Haiti, Tanzania, The Philippines, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Uganda, and Sierra Leone. We are now on to our 16th bank!
- Perpetual Impact: Women pay back loans at a rate of 97% so banks can make new loans every 9 – 12 months, giving additional women the opportunity to improve their lives.
- Additional Benefits: With these loans, women generate additional money to feed, clothe and send their children to school.
- Even More Benefits: Micro enterprise empowers loan recipients to become role models and leaders in their villages.
How Microfinance Works
- Micro Finance increases economic security for very poor women earning less than $2 / day with small loans for home based business enterprises.
- Each village bank loans $5,000 to 15-20 impoverished women to start or expand a business.
- 97% of the loans are repaid and these funds then become available for additional lending.
What WIL has been doing lately …
- Lotus Wonders: Transforming the Lives of Women Through Education and Skill Building, presented by Mehrak Mehrvar, focused on helping the hundreds of thousands of Cambodian women who went through forced relocation.
- WIL member Sandee Mandel taught us about Leah’s Dream: The Power of Education — Empowering & Improving the Lives of Women in Northern Ghana. Leah’s Dream is a non profit organization dedicated to sponsoring education and community development through financial and mentoring support for young women in remote areas of Northern Ghana. It is named for Sandee’s daughter Leah Horowitz, who was tragically killed while working in Northern Ghana on gender equity issues.
- Political Empowerment of Women in Sierra Leone: A Path Toward Sustainable Peace. Presented by Loretta Raider. Loretta focused on this unique new program for women’s political empowerment that has the potential to bring transformative change to women & girls in all areas: social, education, health and financial.
- WIL member Jenny Koleth spoke to our group about Profugo, a non-profit organization involved in International Development. Profugo started a Tailoring Training Program within the Center of Development in Wayanad, India in 2012 to teach women the basics of tailoring which allowed them to earn income and help provide for their families. Please visit www.profugo.org for more information on this amazing organization.
- Seventeen WIL members spent 10 days in Cuba learning about the culture, politics, environment, arts, and sciences in Cuba, primarily focusing on women’s influence.
- WIL had its first fundraising event of 2014 at Moonshine Bar in South Philadelphia. Attendees enjoyed food and beverages for $25, $15 of which went to Village Bank #11. We raised a total of $300! Thank you to all who attended!
- Educating Girls: The Path from Poverty to Leadership — The program featured two speakers Lexi Hensley and Christen Brandt from innovative programs that partner to overcome the challenges of educating girls in developing nations, supporting the girls from elementary through secondary education