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jduggy

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Review for Women Global Empowerment Fund, Denver, CO, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

In fall of 2015, I had the honor and privilege of accompanying Women's Global Empowerment Fund on a trip to Gulu District in Northern Uganda to observe field visits, meet some of WGEF's most inspiring clients, and attend the annual drama festival, which is WGEF's innovative and original capstone program to elevate women's' voices—to a place of social, political, and economic empowerment—through indigenous song, dance, and storytelling.

I became acquainted with WGEF when I covered the organization for Denver's city magazine after our readers voted it (as they have multiple times) Denver's top humanitarian organization. Since then, I've found myself at fundraisers, performances, and collaborations that highlight the organization's work. In other words, I was familiar with WGEF's mission and accomplishments. But not until I witnessed the following in Uganda, did I truly, truly get it:

“I was blind…but now I can see.” It was a short statement, but spoken slowly, with intention, directed toward WGEF founder Karen Sugar. A group of women in a rural village in Northern Uganda—participants in WGEF's literacy trainings—had gathered beneath the shade of a hulking jackfruit tree to greet a small WGEF team during their field visit. The woman stood as she spoke. She walked to a blackboard propped against the tree, picked up a piece of chalk, and carefully wrote her entire name across the smudged slate. Sugar watched from a wooden bench in the dusty clearing as her tears fell. That tiny moment was what her life’s work is all about.

In the grand scheme of our trip, it was the smallest of moments. But it was so big. It made such an impact on me as a moment of such raw honesty and joy. This is what WGEF does: It creates humanity in a space where it had once been extinguished.

I could go on about our visit to the brand new market in Gulu Town, and the WGEF clients we met selling vegetables there. I could talk about the gracious chicken feast that one women's group prepared for us when we visited their village and dairy collaborative, or the endless fields of beans and millet and tilapia ponds that one client led us through—agricultural projects she launched with loans from WGEF. I could recount how mesmerized I was by the drama festival, and the passion and creativity the women put into their performances to convey the theme of "women and gender equity in civic participation"—a topic that couldn't be more relevant in a year when 10 WGEF clients pursued political office. I could talk about WGEF's dedicated, relentlessly hard-working staff who pour their hearts and souls into serving their clients and giving women a voice in their communities, sometimes under the most trying circumstances.

I could go on and on about all of these things. But I'll leave it here, with my sincerest thank you to Karen Sugar and Women's Global Empowerment Fund for sharing their work—and for caring enough to do it.

Role:  General Member of the Public
 

Review for Women Global Empowerment Fund, Denver, CO, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

The Women's Global Empowerment Fund is literally a life-saving game-changer for so many women in the post-conflict, northern Uganda region. Through founder Karen Sugar's vision, innovation, dedication, and passion, the organization has been instrumental in helping women re-discover their entrepreneurial spirit and acquire the skills and education to support themselves and their families in a region mired in recovery. WGEF gives a collective voice to the northern Ugandan women it serves, not only to stand up for themselves as people, but to embrace their power as women in a traditionally male-dominated society. It's rare to see an organization with such compassion, heart, and soul.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

A plethora of Colorado events that let the public see how the women of northern Uganda have personally experienced the results; witnessing personal speeches and stories from women in this region who have turned their lives around through the programs of WGEF.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find a way to get more donors, funds, and employees on board to allow WGEF to continue doing the amazing work it does.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

How did you learn about this organization?

Through 5280: The Denver Magazine, in which Women's Global Empowerment founder Karen Sugar was featured as Denver's Top Humanitarian in the annual Top of the Town issue.

Role:  General Member of the Public & I have learned so much from Karen and WGEF about what it means to be passionate about something; she is inspiring in her dedication to the women she serves in northern Uganda. I have helped her put together a book that highlights these phenomenal women wi.