A Spark of Change for My International Sisters

By Kimberly Ambayec

Several days ago, my seven-year-old sister invited me to her tea party.  Dressed in her shiny blue Alice and Wonderland costume, she summoned me to sit next to her favorite doll.  Unhesitatingly, I accepted her invite and eventually found myself – saucer in one hand, teacup in the other – pondering how good life must be for an innocent, young girl.  Several thoughts later, I began pondering my own life and how it may be just as good.  Afterall, I live in a country where a call to freedom and equality reign supreme.

This blog is not about my life, however, but the lives of my sisters around the globe.  The unfortunate truth is that girls and women in places like Vietnam, Madagascar, and Tanzania lose their innocence at a young age, are limited by strong prejudices, and are daily forced into humiliating situations – rape, sexism, and trafficking, just to name a few.  And what is most disheartening is the fact that these girls and women are completely unaware that their basic human rights are even being violated.  I have sisters around the globe who bleed from many hurts.  So, in my access to freedom and equality, I am obliged to share that my sisters’ lives are unquestionably worth celebrating despite their harsh realities.

I’d also like to share with you an organization UniversalGiving™ has recently partnered with.  This organization, Spark, is committed to helping young, global citizens change patterns of inequality for women all over the world.  They unashamedly celebrate women.  Founded in 2004 by Maya Garcia, Spark empowers individuals between the ages of 20-45 to form strong local networks to address the social, political, and economic issues that most burden women.  Within its first five years of service, Spark grew “from 6 to 5,000 members around the world and raised nearly $1,000,000 for grassroots women’s organizations” in Rwanda, Mexico, Bangladesh, Jordan, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and San Francisco (sparksf.org).  With just one full-time staff member and a team of volunteers, there is no doubt that Spark’s small donor engagement model works.  It is Spark’s individual donors that account for over 70% of their revenue.  Also through this model, Spark cultivates first-time and inexperienced donors to become “strategic philanthropist” – what a promising movement for both donors and beneficiaries alike!

My international sisters are worth every call to action for change.  Thank you, Spark, for reminding me that my good fortune was made to be shared with our global family.


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