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Money to Mekelle-Grantee Profile

Makelle Women educating themselves through the braille library

The Circle of Sisterhood Foundation granted the very first grant in November of 2010. A grant of $500 went to Indianapolis based philanthropist Daniel Benson who utilized the grant to purchase Braille books for women in Mekelle, Ethiopia.

Mr. Benson matched the $500 grant, providing $1,000 worth of books! This grant had an immediate impact on the lives of the girls and women in the village in Ethiopia. Northern Ethiopia is in the middle of what noted UN scholar Jeffrey D. Sachs identifies as “extreme poverty” – where the greatest poverty in the world exists.  In the remote tribal area of Mekelle, blind women are required to leave the shelter of a blind school at the age of 18 – making them extremely vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse.  A home has been built for young blind women as a safe haven where they can continue to learn and teach younger girls how to live with blindness.

Our portion of the grant purchased 38 volumes, which translates to 2,070 pages of Braille books. The books cover a variety of subject including English, history, civics, and economics in a variety of different grade levels. According to individuals working in Mekelle, this was a “very high impact gift”.

This grant profile was written by Tricia Fechter Director of Member Services at the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values and is a volunteer with the grants committee for the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation. For more information on the grant process within the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation, please visit the website.

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