Press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School

RFH womenSpreading awareness of issues affecting women around the globe and making a difference in their lives is the mission of Global Women Empowerment, a new club at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School.

Three women in developing countries have already benefitted from activities organized by the club, which was founded by RFH juniors Hope Haywood and Alexandra Siwulec, along with Advisor and RFH Social Studies teacher Christie Ferraris.

Their kickoff fundraiser, a screening of the film Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity, raised $149. The funds were loaned to two female entrepreneurs in developing countries through KIVA, a non-profit organization with a mission to connect individuals through lending in order to alleviate poverty.

Recently the club raised $1,054 by selling bracelets with the message “Education is Empowerment.” These funds were used to allow Daisy, a teenager living in Uganda, to attend high school for one year.

The Global Women Empowerment Club plans to sponsor Daisy once again next year through Change A Life Uganda. According to the organization’s web site, more than half the population of Uganda is under the age of 15. For many of these children, who have lost either one or both of their parents to HIV/AIDS, a quality education is not an option. With education as the cornerstone of their mission, Change A Life Uganda provides quality school-based programs for these children.

The club’s upcoming fundraisers include a bake sale to benefit female victims of the November 2013 typhoon that impacted the Philippines, as well as a film screening of the film Girl Rising.

Filmed in locations around the globe, Girl Rising is a critically-acclaimed documentary that tells the highly personal stories of nine such girls who face arranged marriages, child slavery, and other hardships. The screening event is co-sponsored by the RFH Character Education Club, Environmental Club, and the Film Club, and is open to the general public. It will be held in the RFH auditorium on February 4 at 7 pm, at an admission cost of $5.00 per person.

The proceeds will benefit three non-profit organizations — Angels in Africa, Mending the Sacred Hoop, and Appalachian Women’s Fund. Angels in Africa is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing basic necessities to the people of Africa. Mending the Sacred Hoop is an organization working to end domestic violence against Native American women. The Appalachian Women’s Fund helps support programs for women and girls by working with local nonprofit agencies.

In photo: Jean Semler, President of Change a Life Uganda (second from left), presents a Certificate of Appreciation to, from left, Hope Haywood and Alexandra Siwulec, Co-Presidents of Global Women Empowerment, and the club’s Advisor Christie Ferraris.