On the surface what I do on behalf of Bpeace seems so simple. I volunteer as a Skillanthropist and donate my capabilities and experience to business owners and their teams to help them grow their businesses. However it is the knock-on effect where the real impact is made and felt. A growing business creates more jobs. A job lifts an individual and his or her family out of poverty. A community where people are working and in turn contributing to the economy lifts the community and makes it healthier. More jobs in countries like El Salvador and Guatemala means less violence. The impact is real and visible and it is one of the most gratifying things I do. Bpeace makes a difference and working with them, so can you.
I come from the other end of the equation- representing Inzozi Nziza (sweet dreams)/ Blue Marble Dreams, a Rwanda based ice creamery and coffee shop run by a cooperative of women drummers. We received much needed assistance from BPeace. I can't speak highly enough of this group! We are establishing a long-term business, which is new to us, and need guidance and capacity building in small business development. Over the last two years, we have received much needed training over telephone, email and in person from creative, dynamic and dedicated people. In the most recent BPeace visit, a very talented accountant was able to help us to understand concepts in a few hours what we struggled with for months! We can't speak highly enough of BPeace and are so thankful for our continued relationship.
This is a terrific organization really making a difference in the lives of poor women in war-torn countries. The organization is run by business women and professionals in a very businesslike and professional, and efficient, way, and the help provided to individual women is leveraged many times in that the women start and then expand their businesses, thereby expanding employment.
What could be better than joining an organization filled with impassioned women and men that are joined together by a common thread - their love of helping individuals grow their businesses and create jobs? Bpeace, a nonprofit that I joined five years ago, specifically focuses on helping women entrepreneurs (and a growing number of men) significantly grow their businesses in Afghanistan, Rwanda and a soon-to-be named third country. We roll up our sleeves, and get our hands dirty. We learn about the world and have a direct and positive impact in our associates'(the individuals we train/support) lives and their communities. Additionally, we get to know each other and form lasting bonds of friendship and networking. I could go on and on, but Bpeace is an extremely unique and remarkable organization that is appropriate for young individuals all the way up to senior citizens. Bpeace also provides a valuable service. Entrepreneurs in regions of post-conflict lack support in which to run their businesses. We step in to help at a critical juncture and the funds we raise go directly to help such programs. A donor never had to wonder if their funds are getting caught up in bureaucratic red-tape.
After a career in Municipal Finance, I decided to stay home when my children were born. But I had a lot of energy, and, I felt, skills that could be helpful in "problem-solving". Thus began a commitment to various non-profit organizations. After 15 years in many volunteer roles, a friend encouraged me to investigate volunteer opportunities with Bpeace. Her reasoning was, "You have done so much for organizations here at home, now it's time for you to expand, go global!" She brought me to a Bpeace meeting in March,2005. Several Bpeace volunteers had just returned from a trip to Kabul, Afghanistan. One of the women was a photographer who showed slides that captured life in newly-liberated Kabul. The smiles of hope on the Afghan men, women and children captured me. Bpeace was supporting women who created beautiful handcrafts. These women employed other women and the network of family members who relied on their incomes was expansive. Sometimes these women sat around a small living room,working under kerosene lamps and ironing their finished pieces with old-fashioned irons heated with a bunsen burner. In 2006, some of these "Bpeace Associates" came to the US to attend workshops at the Fashion Institute in New York. Meeting these remarkable women, many who had educated themselves in the refugee camps of Pakistan, convinced me that I wanted to commit myself to Bpeace's mission of helping the women of Afghanistan - and Rwanda where there are similar groups of strong women entrepreneurs. The assistance that Bpeace provides is direct and effectively impacts the business development of Bpeace Associates. In 2007, Bpeace expanded their group of enterepreneurs beyond handcrafts to such enterprises as food processing, commercial printing and soccer ball manufacturing. In 2009, the net grew to include men. I am proud to be a small part of such an intelligent, talented group of business women and men who know how to help these entrepreneurs and who are commited to their success.
Although a skeptic of many NGOs, when a colleague introduced me to Bpeace in 2005, I instantly knew they were making a difference. A volunteer-run organization, Bpeace empowers people in countries of conflict and post-conflict to provide for themselves, their families, and to build their communities. Bpeace doesn't make handouts or teach in a one-way fashion. Rather, Bpeace is an exchange of business people helping business people, and fosters learning about breaking down barriers in an increasingly global world. We believe business, job creation, vocational training, and access to resources are essential ingredients to fostering stability and peace.
One of the best non-profits I have ever worked with! I can't say enough about the organization and my fellow volunteers. The organization is made up dedicated professionals who selflessly give their time and expertise to making this world a better place. I am honored to be part of this organization!
Can-do! Bpeace is a can-do group of people, pooling their experiences, networks and resources together, to share with others. Positive and upbeat. They just do it! Members are very involved with projects that interest them- and Bpeace staff helps enable members to achieve their goals. Bpeace is constantly setting new project goals for the organization to work toward. Bpeace achieves and exceeds expectations each time. Great organization, great energy, connecting expereinces- making a difference and making the world smaller!
Bpeace is a phenomenal organization! I first learned of Bpeace at a conference at the UN and was so inspired by their work that I had to join immediately. Bpeace has a group of motivating and fearless leaders that are passionate about changing the world. How can you not want to be a part of that! By creating more jobs and opportunities, we are creating peace.
I've been an active member of Bpeace since February of 2009. The Bpeace mission - more jobs mean less violence - and its approach really resonate with me. By providing long term business services to women (and now men!) in post conflict countries, you not only help the individual entrepreneurs, but also their families and communities, by creating more jobs and opportunities for a peaceful future. The network of volunteers I have met are such a dynamic and dedicated group, I thoroughly enjoy working with them!
Bpeace is the most well-run organization I have ever volunteered for. It is due not only to the incredible leadership but also the dedicated and talented volunteers who are professionals in their own industries. This shows in Bpeace's ability to have such a positive impact on the women entreprenuers that benefit from Bpeace's services. I highly recomend Bpeace as an organization to get involved with if you want to make a difference for women entreprenuers in post-conflict countries.
I joined Bpeace in April 09 and have worked directly on their Race to Innovation project in Afghanistan and Rwanda, am an advocate in direct communication with an amazing entrepreneur in Afghanistan, did customer service training for a collaborative project to open the first ice cream store in Rwanda, hosted a group of Rwandan businesswomen in Pa for a week in 2011. The CEO of Bpeace has been an inspiration and I have learned a tremendous amount from her. I do believe that more jobs mean less violence. Members are encouraged to experience their philanthropy, and I have appreciated the direct connection to where my money goes.
It was overwhelmingly inspiring to visit and work with women in Rwanda who have experienced so much loss, pain and hardship. We were there to help them with business issues and they gave us more hope and inspiration than imaginable. These entrepreneurs want to strengthen their capabilities and move forward. We assisted in that goal by our training seminars, our ability to convey our experience and learned lessons in business and by our networking skills and global connections.
As a Bpeace volunteer for over 4 years, I have traveled to Afghanistan to mentor women in the Bpeace program, select new businesswomen for the program and assist with the classes. I attend meetings via conference call on a regular basis.