While women across the world have been shattering the glass ceiling in a multitude of fields, there are still many who are denied the opportunity to learn and grow in the way they choose simply because they are female. Many courageous people are fighting against these patriarchal hangovers and one such initiative is the Global Give Back Circle.

In 2005, Linda Lockhart was living what can only be called a good life. She was in Paris, directing a company which worked on cultural transformation in other organizations worldwide. Most of her time was spent traveling across continents for her work. One day, she watched Larry King cover the first Clinton Global Initiative meeting and it sparked something inside her. The initiative’s simple method of connecting people who had good ideas with people who could help them make those ideas come true inspired her, but it required commitment.

Then in early 2006, she was sitting in her hotel in Florence looking at all the shopping she’d done. The sheer number of designer shoes overwhelmed her because it reminded her of something she’d learned on her trip to Africa – every girl from a poverty-stricken background gives back her school uniform and her shoes after graduating to walk back into the vicious cycle of poverty. This moment changed her whole life and by extension, the lives of many others.

Linda vowed that she would come up with an idea that would let girls around the world climb higher and higher. That very year she started the Global Give Back Circle (GGBC) with nine other brilliant women. Now the initiative includes over a thousand people working in almost thirty countries.

After two years of research, in 2008, GGBC made a commitment to help 35 Kenyan girls climb their way up the ladder of prosperity in a nine-month period. Prominent organizations like Microsoft and Equity Bank came together to help them implement their ideas in the real world. Each girl was assigned a mentor who was a Kenyan or an American professional. They were trained intensively in necessary skills ranging from financial knowledge to sex education. All they had to do in return was a promise to keep their ‘Give Back Commitment’ i.e. mentor other girls from their community so that they could have the same advantages.

Mary Mwende was one of the girls from this very first class. She completed the course and was chosen by Linda to be the representative of GGBC for the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative Meeting. She was so impressive that she received full funding to study at the American University in Dubai where she went on to major in business and finance. GGBC has been the cause for hundreds of success stories like Mary’s in the ten years since then.

And here’s the best part: you can also contribute to the wonderful work that GGBC is doing by using the skills and resources that you have. These are the things you can do:

Mentorship Programmes

Young girls everywhere are intelligent, resourceful, and full of life. Unfortunately, the circumstances they are born into do not allow them to tap into their full potential. In countries torn apart by violence and poverty, their voices go unheard and their lives remain unchanged. Without access to knowledge of the wider world around them, many aren’t even aware of the myriad opportunities they have. This is where mentors step in.

The plain and simple fact is that young girls need mentors, especially other women who show them the diverse options that are available. Research done at Santa Clara University showed that girls place greater value on the lessons they learn from female mentors and this allows them to resist societal norms that condition them to be deferential to men. They become more confident about themselves and discover the leadership qualities they already possess.

If you believe that you have skills to offer, you can also mentor someone participating in the GGBC classes in any of these countries: Kenya, India, China, South Africa, and Rwanda. You just need to fill out a form here.

Volunteering

An index released by ONE Camp in 2017 showed that almost 130 million girls of school going age are not getting the education they need. Factors like early marriage and pregnancy, outbreaks of violence, poverty, child labor, lack of teachers, and poor sanitation facilities discourage them from going to school. Oftentimes, just the fact that they are girls is enough to ensure that they are pulled out of school early or not sent to school at all.

With GGBC, you can volunteer your time to take vocational courses and workshops on life skills depending on your areas of expertise. Just follow the link above.

Sponsorship And Support

Besides all the social factors holding women back, poverty and lack of resources stand out as stark economic factors that prevent them from forging ahead. If you educate one woman, you’re educating a community. GGBC allows you to sponsor students in African and Asian countries through different phases of education. You can also offer any expertise that you have if you wish to help them with tech and fundraising.

To actually see the kind of difference you can help make, watch the video below:

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