When people think about social change, many envision political revolution, a mass social movement, grass-roots mobilization or anything that’s done grandiosely.
Social change can have many features, and one of them is simply envisioning a world where women: moms, wives, daughters and sisters come together to transform themselves and their surroundings with a gentle touch of creativity, talent, and skills.
The theme behind Marga Fripps’ presentation Empowering Women and Creating Social Change Through Entrepreneurship at the Women’s National Democratic Club was primarily about nurturing the creative skills of women who for a long time have felt powerless and disoriented in a world that’s been engorged by mass-production and loss of the unique items or small services.
Many women who come to the US looking for ways to fulfill their American Dream, often stumble head over heels with the reality of unemployment and language barrier. The education they acquired or skills they have developed in their respective countries are often unmatchable with the entrenched systems here and thus become either disillusioned or discouraged. EWI understands these challenges because these women’s backgrounds are the backbone of our organization.
Our esteemed Board Chair Dianne Lorenz was responsible for bringing WNDC and EWI together on May 9th for the luncheon and presentation. We are also grateful for this collaboration to Michael Lee Beidler, Anne Martin and Sharon Newsome of the WNDC, who graciously hosted EWI and made this program possible.
Marga was able to take this cause to a vibrant and enthusiastic audience by sharing her own story. Marga’s challenge of adjusting to the system and fulfilling her American Dream is one reason why we are here – helping immigrant, refugee, and low-income women become the entrepreneurs they always desired to be. Joining Marga were our ETS alumni Aida Mady, Paulette Mpouma, and current student Cleopatra Magwaro, who shared some of their extraordinary stories and talked about the changes EWI had brought in their lives. One of the highlights of the event was the artisan marketplace displaying a selection of unique jewelry, handmade bags and cards, Cleo’s book A Season’s Assemblage, and Paulette’s games, bracelets and dolls, and Aida’s display for her catering business, Cooking and Beyond. Of course, we can’t forget Aida’s delectable baklava which was served as dessert during lunch …social change through entrepreneurship was gleaming!
Overall, the generous reception we received from WNDC and the audience gives us hope that social change can be acquired from bottom up if one is given a platform to address the issues that matter. We are gratified by their support and help connecting EWI to the great people of DC and beyond.
- Written By Hanna Yamir, Program Associate Intern