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Teri Goudie, Inspired by Half the Sky, Summits Mount Kilimanjaro for Women in Poverty

By Ruth-Anne Renaud

One week ago, Teri Goudie, a former TV producer for Chicago’s ABC 7, traveled to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, raising donations for Opportunity International and the Janada L. Batchelor Foundation for Children (JBFC). Goudie was inspired to accomplish this incredible feat after reading the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas D. Kristof. She’s joined on her journey by two friends, Lisa Stafford and Patty Orler. The three women trained together all summer long, working hard and encouraging each other for the cause of poverty in the developing world–this fundraising effort is an incredible example of women helping women.

Before leaving for Tanzania, the three climbers gathered 100 women together in Goudie’s home to learn about the work of Opportunity and JBFC. Sharing details of Opportunity’s work were Lillian Covington, a Kenyan-born Opportunity staff member, and Dawn Feller, a board member and leader in the http://www.opportunity.org/womens-opportunity-network/Women’s Opportunity Network (WON)[/intlink]. These Opportunity representatives inspired supporters with details of our offerings of financial services to women working their way out of extreme poverty, empowering them to improve their lives and their families’ futures. They also learned about the work of JBFC, a non-profit that works in East Africa to provide orphaned and street girls with safe refuge, nutrition, education, healthcare and hope for their futures. Supporting the work of both organizations embodies the spirit and message behind http://www.opportunity.org/blog/sheryl-wudunn-to-speak-at-opportunitys-fall-microfinance-conference-in-washington-d-c/Half the Sky[/intlink]: that the most effective way to fight global poverty is to empower and educate women and girls in the developing world.

Throughout her journey, Goudie has chronicled her triumphs at her blog on ABC. And today, Friday, Sept. 24, Goudie and her fellow climbers will reach their ultimate goal: the uppermost peak of Kilimanjaro. Her most recent post on Thursday night conveyed her nervous anticipation and exhilaration at the prospect of reaching the summit. She writes:

It will be hard to sleep tonight because we know what is coming. Our group has become very close and our team spirit will carry us. We will be awakened at midnight and told to put on almost every layer of clothing that we brought.

It is Carpe Diem time only now it is the longest day of my life and I am seizing a mountain. Hopefully I will have reached my goal as Chicago is getting ready for bed Thursday night.

This is it.

We at Opportunity are eagerly following the progress of Goudie and her friends, inspired by their commitment to alleviate poverty for women and girls. Though not everyone can scale Kilimanjaro, we can all do something to raise awareness and support for women in the developing world. Take action: attend our http://www.opportunity.org/opportunity-international-conference/breakout-sessions/breakout session[/intlink] on women’s philanthropy at Opportunity’s http://www.opportunity.org/opportunity-international-conference/fall microfinance conference[/intlink]; share the work of Opportunity with your family, friends and community members; and fund the loan of a woman client on optinnow.org. What will you do to empower women and girls? Share with us in the comment field below.

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