Good News For Girls: Lemonade + Kenya + Pure Water + Inspiration


SheLoves August 2013

Girls Who Innovate:

+ Livelyhoods in Nairobi, Kenya gives girls the chance to trade selling scavenged scrap or drugs for selling eco-friendly cook stoves, solar and LED lighting, and sanitary products.

+ Kenyan farms are being transformed by female farmers!

+ While this reads as a micro-credit success story (and it is!), the more interesting part of the story is how this woman in Nairobi, Kenya went from reselling low-profit used clothing to turning those same used clothes into something valuable.

(Is it just me, or are there some amazing things going on in Kenya?!)

+ A simple cooking tool developed by South Africa’s Sarah Collins and Moshy Mathe saves fuel and time for rural cooks. As a bonus, it also saves forests and gets girls back in school.

+ 8-year-old Vivienne in California set up a lemonade stand to raise funds to end child-slavery. 365 days and $100,000 later, she reached her goal. But the now 9-year old realized that raising funds wasn’t the real goal–ending child-slavery was. So with a support team in place, she’s developed a lemonade bottling company to continue the mission.

Girls Who Invent:

+ Can’t get enough of these brilliant girls! 14-year old Deepika Kurup developed a low-cost, solar water purification system. No big deal.

+ 15-year old Ann Makosinski created a flashlight powered by the heat of your hand. You know, no big deal.

Girls Who Inspire:

+ The story of a girl, who understood the power of education, and bargained with her father to change her own fate and that of her whole village.

+ Chelsea Fearce spent much of her high school years living in homeless shelters. Didn’t stop her from graduating as valedictorian of her class.

+ Uganda’s Femrite supports young women in Uganda go against the tide of silence, to write their painful, powerful stories.

Expanding the Circle:

+ “When women decide to support one another rather than compete—when they feel Christ’s abundance rather than their own scarcity, and they share out of that abundance—great things can happen.”

+ Listening Well–a clear series of posts which identify privilege within the Christian community, suggest postures for reconciliation, and provide tools to listen well.

+ I realize this lecture series requires a fair commitment: 5 1-hour lectures by Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arch Communities. If you don’t know of L’Arch, it is “the international organization famed for its innovative methods of working with handicapped people.” In this series of lectures (first given in 1998, but still powerful today) Vanier “discusses the necessity of conceiving a new vision of humankind: a society in which the gifts of all, particularly those of the weak and the powerless, are an equal, common heritage.”

I included this series here because I firmly believe that we must all move forward together. We all miss out when we fail to seek out the gifts of the entire community.

Erin Wilson
Erin Wilson is a curator + photographer, storyteller + story gatherer, listener + learner, student + teacher, mentor + cheerleader, local food advocate + unrepentant lover of kale. Erin teaches photography to kids who don't yet know they're artists through The ONE SHOT Project. She's currently making her home in Kurdistan (northern Iraq).
Erin Wilson
Erin Wilson


  1. Stephanie says:

    Love it!

    • Erin Wilson says:

      Thank you, Stephanie. 🙂 I’m sorry that it didn’t work out to connect in Montreal this summer. One day I will sit across a table with you!

  2. This is incredible and makes me proud to be a woman!!

  3. Bev Murrill says:

    The list of achievements by these young women is staggering. Thanks for showing us this and WOW about the future as girls and women are released to use their creative leadership skills to make their world a better place. Kudos to them.

    • Erin Wilson says:

      Thank you, Bev. It’s one of those amazing, exciting (and to be honest… slightly depressing) things: if girls were released into the world to use their God-breathed gifts and talents, and supported in what ever way they need… oh my goodness. Look out!

  4. This sentence is LIFE: “conceiving a new vision of humankind: a society in which the gifts of all, particularly those of the weak and the powerless, are an equal, common heritage.” Yes, yes, yes.

  5. Erin, I absolutely *love* that you added Jean Vanier’s lectures in here.

    And: how adorable is that image of the girl with the big smile and gum? Makes my heart so happy happy happy.

    All of this, you know, no big deal. 🙂 I LOVE what you do here. Thank you, thank you, thank you. xoox

    • Erin Wilson says:

      Thank you so much, friend. And thank you for allowing space here for this column, and allowing me a place in it. I really do love it.

      Jean Vanier… oh my. I listen to his Massey Lecture every few years, and it turns me inside out every time. He looks at the same world in front of us all, and yet he SEES the Kingdom of God. Oh, so beautiful 🙂

  6. Sarah Richardson says:

    Erin, thank you for curating this list that brings it right to our front door.

    I can’t get enough of this: “15-year old Ann Makosinski created a flashlight powered by the heat of your hand. You know, no big deal.”

    No big deal.


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