MADRE Articles

Alice & The Power of One

Posted on: Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Keywords: Kenya, Africa

        At home in Kenya with my two grandsons

My Dear Friend of MADRE,

Let me tell you about Alice, an extraordinary woman from Kenya who exercised her extraordinary “power of one.”

Even as a young woman, it was clear that Alice was filled with potential. She couldn’t go to school, but she taught herself to read and write.

Drought was ravaging her village, and women there struggled to make sure their families had enough water. When the riverbed was dry, Alice worried that no one would help.  Who would care enough to pay attention to her rural, isolated village?

But Alice wasn’t daunted; she spoke out constantly, to anyone who’d listen.

And, we heard her.

With your support, MADRE helped bring Alice to the United Nations conference on climate change where she spoke out eloquently about women’s struggles seldom heard on the world stage. With new knowledge and renewed fervor, she came home to mobilize her neighbors to manage water use, plant trees and more.

Alice is a leader in her village and for women’s rights.     

I thank Lucy Mulenkei, Executive Director of the Indigenous Information Network, MADRE’s partner organization in Kenya, for connecting us with Alice’s amazing energy.

I live in Kenya now, and recently I turned 70.  Lucy called and said she wanted to take me to lunch. But when I arrived at the restaurant, I was surprised to see a large group of Indigenous women who’d traveled over 300 miles, through extremely dangerous country, all the way from Marsabit to share in my celebration.  

Of course, Alice was there!

These women came to honor MADRE. They sang their traditional song of thanks. They traveled long hours to show their appreciation of the help you give them through your support of their school and leadership development programs.

You are their ally, and ours, through the power of your membership gift.  

As Yifat wrote in her letter, we’re not a large organization compared to some of the world’s philanthropic giants.  But our impact far outstrips our size. And with your continued membership support, we’ll be ready for whatever challenges lay ahead.  

This is true, lasting friendship – the kind that overcomes what seems impossible and brings the daunting down to size.  I believe we have this friendship with you.

I’m so glad to add my voice to Yifat’s when I tell you how deeply grateful we are for your continued support. You’re at the heart of everything we do.  

Thank you.

Yours always,

Vivian Stromberg
Senior Advisor (and former Executive Director)

P.S. Nothing is more important than your participation in the work we do. Please recommit yourself to the challenges ahead and renew your MADRE Membership for 2012 with a tax-deductible gift today. Your gift makes you part of a team that stands with our sisters—a group of determined women, gentle yet strong, who have their eye on the prize of a better life. We must have your renewed strength to continue our momentum for historic change.

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