Maria Grazia Khoyan, a Village Mentor for The BOMA Project in Kenya, is a finalist for a $10,000 award from Students Rebuild and Half the Sky. BOMA is an innovative nonprofit that helps ultra-poor women start small, sustainable businesses in their rural villages.
Voting is underway online through Friday, March 8 at http://bit.ly/voteformaria.
Maria is a young, educated mother from the village of Archer’s Post who joined BOMA as a full-time mentor in January 2012. Since then, she has helped to launch 40 small businesses in her village, changing the lives of 120 women. Maria has also become an effective advocate for education, successfully encouraging the women she works with to send their children to school.
“I am happy and proud of the change that I have brought to my community,” says Maria. “My people are prospering and my community is moving out of poverty.”
One $10,000 winner will be named from each of five countries, including Kenya. In addition to online voting, the judging panel includes America Ferrera, Olivia Wilde, Eileen Fisher, Jeffrey Sachs, Zainab Salbi, Sheryl WuDunn, Maggie Doyne and campus ambassador Shomira Sanyal of India. The winners will be announced on March 12.
BOMA’s Rural Entrepreneur Access Project (REAP) is a two-year poverty-graduation program that targets ultra-poor women and helps them to start small businesses in their villages by providing a cash grant, training in business skills and savings, and two years of mentoring by BOMA Village Mentors. When the businesses are established and generating profits, at six months, Mentors work with REAP groups to form BOMA savings associations and work with each savings group for one year. Since 2008, BOMA has established 1,145 small businesses across Northern Kenya, including 3,963 women who use the income to pay for food, school fees and medical care for more than 19,800 children. For more information, go to www.bomaproject.org.
Students Rebuild is a nonprofit that mobilizes young people worldwide to connect, learn and take action on critical global issues. Half the Sky is a movement and PBS documentary based on the award-winning book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
Questions? Contact Kathleen James at The BOMA Project, 802.231.2542 or firstname.lastname@example.org