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Oprah & #MeToo. TimesUp for Sexual Harassment.

Oprah Winfrey receives the Cecil B. de Mille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards

If you watched the Golden Globes last Sunday, you probably felt the same awe we did at hearing Oprah’s speech and her powerful words to all women and girls: a new day is on the horizon.

The #MeToo movement has been unlike anything else this past year. It has grown into something so much bigger and broader than imagined, with countless women speaking out throughout Hollywood, the country, and internationally. And perpetrators have fallen. Finally, real consequences.

Oprah’s impassioned words struck a deep chord, especially:

“They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they’re in academia and engineering and medicine and science. They’re part of the world of tech and politics and business. They’re our athletes in the Olympics and they’re our soldiers in the military.”

This global issue is a stain on humanity. Sexual assault and all forms of harassment must come to an end. For that to happen, we have to expose it (as so many have, at great personal and professional risk) and make sure there are consequences.

It was Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano who sparked the #MeToo movement across social media, but women have long been fighting to be heard. Before that there was Recy Taylor, the woman who was kidnapped and raped by six white men, but never lived to see them persecuted. And there was Tarana Burke, the woman who first started the Me Too campaign in 2006 to raise awareness around sexual assault in underprivileged communities. And there are thousands – millions – more.

Prosperity Candle has long stood for women’s rights. We believe in equal opportunity, equal pay, equal representation, and equal education for women and girls everywhere in the world. We are inspired by people like Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who became an activist for female education after being shot for going to school, and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate

Here in our studio, women artisans relocated to the U.S. from refugee camps through UN and federal programs pour candles in a joyful, safe environment. When we first approached them in 2010, we had the idea to help set up their own candle business. They asked instead for living wage employment, flexible work hours, transportation – and an environment free of sexual harassment.

Some of these women refugees had experienced offensive advances and unwanted contact here in the U.S., but were afraid to confront managers for fear of losing their jobs. So we set up a candle-making studio. And since several planned on having children, we added a crib, private nursing area, and a “babies welcome” sign.

That was twenty years after Anita Hill testified that Clarence Thomas, nominated to be a Supreme Court Justice, had sexually harassed her when she was his assistant. He was confirmed to the Supreme Court. She was called a liar.

And now here we are at the start of 2018 with Golden Globes actresses dressed in black as part of the #TIMESUP protest, speaking forcefully about putting an end to sexual harassment, the most powerful of whom was Oprah. It feels like we are – finally – at a tipping point.

Time's Person of the Year Silence Breakers

We are grateful to the countless women who have bravely shared their personal experiences over many decades – you helped make it possible for today’s voices to be heard. Add the very public courage of Time Magazine’s Silence Breakers and we have a loud call for real change.

It is time to be bold. We have the opportunity to substantively shift the balance of power in the workplace, in our communities, and in Congress to be more representative of our nation’s citizens, more equal. After all, the United States is 51% female, a.k.a. the majority.

As Oprah said last Sunday, “a new day is on the horizon. And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘me too’ again.”

Thank you, Oprah.


Before you click away, do 5 these simple things:

  1. Support the #TIMESUP movement

  2. Join a Women’s March this weekend
  3. Connect with the Women’s March on Facebook
  4. Share the links below with everyone you know
  5. Tell us about about initiatives supporting women’s rights and helping put an end to sexual harassment… we’ll broadcast far and wide


LINKS TO SHARE

What You Can Do as a Bystander to Sexual Harassment

Time Magazine’s Person of the Year – the Silence Breakers

About the #TIMESUP Movement

Women’s March 2018

Massachusetts’ March Forward #WeekendOfWomen 2018

Women’s Leadership Gap – by the Numbers

Pro-Feminist Men’s Movement

Anita Hill’s Story, Revisited

The “Shocking” Revolt at Golden Globes


Celebrating 9 Years of Impact

Prosperity Candle's impact over the years include Iraqi widows, Haitian women, female artisans in Kashmir, and women refugees from Burma and Bhutan, all making fair trade soy blend ethically handmade candles

This month marks 9 years – nine! – since the idea of empowering women in places of conflict through candle-making first took shape over a cannoli in a pastry shop in Northampton, MA. As 2017 winds down and we reflect on the journey so far, we are feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

It hasn’t been the easiest path. Prosperity Candle was conceived in 2008 as the financial meltdown was growing here and spreading across the world. The economy was teetering, conflict in Iraq was never-ending, and few people were supportive our idea.

Amber, Siiri and Ted had worked for years with women artisans in Afghanistan, Rwanda, Sudan and Kosovo – all places of conflict. They saw how the long shadow of war placed an especially heavy burden on women who were the least likely to receive economic support.

So they decided to do something about it. But it had have the potential to change a life for the long-term, to help someone create a brighter future for herself. Beyond charity, it needed to invest in women as entrepreneurs to enable them to not just survive, but truly thrive.

Prosperity Candle's certifications for fair trade, women owned, B-Corp, handmade by refugees and Best for the World

Our founders sought deep and lasting impact, and to foster independence that could have a ripple effect across a community. After much searching and a few bad ideas, it turned out that candles and candle-making were perfect for what they wanted to do.

The journey from that pastry shop to today has many twists and turns, and a few moments of doubt. If you’re curious, read The Full Story.

The short version is that we overcame a bunch of challenges, and today the vision of creating economic opportunities for women extends to refugees here in Western Massachusetts. We are incredibly honored to work with these resilient individuals, mostly from Burma where they endured suffering and loss as they fled for their lives.

Ma Kaing a Burmese woman refugee who now helps make fair trade soy blend candles at Prosperity Candle

Like Ma Kaing who joined our candle-making team a few weeks ago. She came to the U.S. through UN and federal resettlement programs after living for more than 10 years in a refugee camp. With her brother and parents, she was forced out of her home and village by a military regime, leaving behind everything she knew and cherished.

Life in the refugee camp was safe, but hard. Ma Kaing took care of her parents, forgoing an education and spending most of her time growing food. When she and her husband arrived in the U.S., they had one wish: that their children go to school and receive the education they had been denied.

At age 36, making candles is Ma Kaing’s first job. Last week, she received her first paycheck.

Prosperity Candle’s studio is a small but happy space in a repurposed mill building that once housed Stanley Home Products, maker of brushes and cleaners. With wood floors and 12-foot tall windows that look out to a mountainside, it’s a beautiful place to work.

But what makes it special is the sound of laughter… women artisans pouring and packaging candles, sharing in their own languages, celebrating the everyday joys of life. They are a continual inspiration to us. The hardships they have faced and overcome are beyond our imagining, yet here they are making one another laugh.

As we prepare to enter our 10th year, we would like to express our gratitude to you for helping to make this social enterprise possible. Your purchase of candles and gifts, and sharing Prosperity Candle’s story, is the reason we are here today and still growing our impact. You are the reason we could give Ma Kaing a living wage job.

Here is the impact you have supported:

Prosperity Candle impact on women artisans in Haiti Iraq Refugees in the U.S. living wages and fair trade

Prosperity Candle giving in donations and loans and investing in women entrepreneurs around the world for fair trade

Prosperity Candle and fair trade artisan made handcrafted good purchased and total candles sold

From all of us here in the studio, a huge thank you for helping spread light far beyond your homes. And an equally big thank you to our partners, new and old, who support our mission. We are continually energized by your work, and by the many other social enterprises helping to solve problems and create a more equitable world.

To everyone who has been there along the way, lifting us up when times were tough and celebrating the milestones, you are truly the best.

Here’s to doing all we can to create a brighter future for everyone, everywhere.

 

Peace Joy Gratitude soy blend fair trade candles ethically handmade by women artisans at Prosperity Candle

Human Rights: Fair Trade Makes A Huge Difference

Human Rights Day and Human Rights Watch with a blog post by Prosperity Candle about refugees and fair trade

Sunday, December 10th is International Human Rights Day!

That may sound like an obscure event held at the UN, but it’s much bigger than that. Around the world, we see the basic rights of people stripped away… things we often take for granted like freedom from slavery and torture, and the right to free speech.

And everywhere, freedom from discrimination and the right to a fair trial is a battle we must persistently wage.

It’s often hard to imagine how one person can make a dent in helping to solve such big problems… we feel like our actions are small and insignificant. But they’re not. Collectively, we have incredible power.

And one way to wield that power is in the marketplace. This is not a pitch to buy candles or anything we make. It’s a call to action we have felt for decades working in impoverished places around the world and seeing with our own eyes how our purchasing choices can make a difference. A huge difference.

You can positively impact many lives simply by how you shop for gifts this holiday. Together, we can help communities create a brighter future for their children.

Just choose fair trade gifts. Not for everything… it’s not easy to find fair trade electronics, but there are so many great products out there that are perfect for family and friends – and were ethically made following fair trade principles.

WFTO World Fair Trade Organization fair trade principles for member Prosperity Candle

These principles are actually not that hard when businesses care as much about how something is made as they profit they earn. It’s about paying living wages, ensuring a safe workplace, doing right by the environment, and supporting basic human rights including equality and self determination.

It’s a vision of a world where farmers can afford to eat the food they produce, garment workers have decent clothing to wear, and artisans can support their families. There’s more to it, but that’s the essence. And it really does make a difference.

We know this because we’ve seen how living wages and healthy working conditions have positively impacted the women refugees here in our studio, as well as the hundreds of artisans we work with around the world. They lead better lives with more opportunities. There is equal opportunity and safer working environments for women. There is no child labor so kids are more likely to get an education.

Fair trade principles on Human Rights Day ensure children go to school

As a social enterprise, we believe in the power of fair trade and an ethical marketplace to change lives for the better.

So this year, we’re celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights by sharing this one simple way you can stand up for the rights and dignity of people around the world.

SHOP FAIR TRADE

You’ll discover there are plenty of fair trade products out there, as well as  fair trade gift guides. Click on the links above, or simply search “fair trade gifts” to find great online retailers like Fair Trade Winds, Global Goods Partners, SERRV and hundreds more.

The Little Market is one of our favorites… a fair trade nonprofit we work with that sells beautifully handmade products to empower female artisans around the world. Its co-founders Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla put human rights at the core of their mission.

Not quite there yet? That’s OK! Here’s a great way to get started:  declare you want to use your purchasing power for good by signing the Fair Trade Certified pledge. It’s easy and motivating.

Then join millions in celebrating Human Rights Day by purchasing fair trade this holiday, beginning right now. Look for these logos whenever you shop:

Fair trade organizations offering ethically made fair trade products and gifts

And yes, we’d of course love for you to check out our fair trade candles and gift sets, but that’s not why we wrote this post. We’re asking you to keep this idea in mind of purchasing with purpose wherever you shop – and will encourage others to do the same.

If you’re interested in human rights and how you can get involved, please visit Human Rights Watch. You can also learn more about Human Rights Day and Fair Trade Principles.

Thank you!

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” – Nelson Mandela

Lovable Dogs Who Also Save Lives

Love dogs who save lives here at Prosperity Candle where we pour handmade soy blend fair trade candles and giftsThe bond between Koda and Emily goes far beyond love.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, so as dog lovers we thought we’d share the incredible story of an 18-month-old Labrador retriever who alerts a 14-year girl old to dangerous changes in her blood sugar.

Emily has Type I diabetes. She was diagnosed when she was just 6. About 5 months ago she was given a very special furry companion named Koda who has been trained to smell when Emily’s blood sugar drops too low or rises too high. The magic of Koda is that he detects the fluctuations a full 30 minutes before the medical equipment does.

These 30 minutes are huge. Emily has fallen into a diabetic coma 4 times in her life so far. And her doctor said that if she were to fall into another one, she might not wake up.

Incredible dogs savings lives here at Prosperity Candle where we pour handmade soy blend fair trade candles and gifts

Yet Koda is always keeping watch. He’s trained to keep alerting Emily when her blood sugar is too low or high until she takes action. And if she ignores him, he finds friends and family to alert. It’s called trained disobedience.

Koda has changed Emily’s life. Today she is a junior in high school and can try sports and dancing for the first time. Koda is her loyal sidekick and best friend who looks out for her at home and at school.

There are so many reasons to love dogs. They are there when you’re sad or want to wrestle, need to get out for a walk or cuddle on a cold day. Or just hang out. We don’t know Koda, but we love him and are inspired by how he’s helping Emily live a happier, safer and more fulfilled life.

Do you have a story of a dog who helps someone? We’d love to hear it! Share in the comments section below.

Read the full story about Koda and Emily in The Seattle Times.

Image Sources.

National Diabetes Awareness Month Seattle Times story about Koda and Emily


Wet Dog Candle great smelling for dog lovers fair trade and ethically handmade soy blend candle by women artisans at Prosperity Candle

We are dog lovers ourselves… that’s Riley on our new Wet Dog candle in 3 wonderful scents (that don’t smell like a wet dog!): Blue Fir & Spice, Lemon & Lavender, Spearmint & Eucalyptus.

Riley is our Labrador-Whippet mix adopted in 2014 from a Louisiana shelter. She’s been coming to the studio every day since and owns the Moroccan couch – not to mention our hearts.

We like to light a Wet Dog candle to “tame that wet fur smell” when she’s been roaming about or rolling around in who knows what. It’s fun and makes a great gift for the dog lovers in your life.

Check out the Wet Dog candle in our store.

 

Amazing Stories of Kindness

WBUR Kind World podcast acts of kindness and compassion resonate with Prosperity Candle

“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference.” – Barbara De Angelis

We all have good years and bad years. That’s life. But 2017 feels unusually tough. Maybe not on a personal level so much as a national one.

OK, bear with us – this is worth it.

No matter what your politics, gender, race or religion, it’s hard to argue that things aren’t different this year. The tenor of conversation has turned particularly sour. You see it every day on the news, in online comments, and across social media. Even the comic satire of late night TV is based on extreme negativity.

We’re stuck in divisiveness. And not just here… it’s a global trend. Even our friendly neighbors in Canada are seeing it. The emphasis is on our differences rather than common ground. And the words – already mean last year – are getting meaner.

But don’t despair! There is something out there that will renew your faith in people, society and the kindness of strangers.

WBUR Kind World podcast about kindness and compassion resonates with Prosperity Candle

It’s called Kind World, a podcast from WBUR created by Erika Lantz. Short stories about the positive impact people have on others, from small acts of kindness to saving a life. Each episode is 6-8 minutes and will amaze you. Some will make you cry. All are real.

We listen to Kind World often, usually with kids. Then we end up talking about what happened for weeks and share the stories with others. They are the perfect antidote to what ails our nation.

Kindness, compassion, helping those in need whether you know them or not. Bringing a smile to someone’s face, or joy to a broken heart. Sacrificing oneself for another. The stories are so powerful they alter the course of your day and change the way you view the world around you.

WBUR Kind World podcast about kindness and compassionate resonates with Prosperity CandleAs a social enterprise that supports refugees, a recent Kind World story especially resonates with us. It’s about a young Muslim refugee who was welcomed into an American household with unexpected kindness. Listen to Turning Point, then sign up for the podcast. You won’t regret it.

If you’re a baseball fan you’ll love Almost Impossible. If you want to inspire a kid, listen to So Chocolate Bar. And if you’re thinking of skydiving, listen to When the Parachute Failed before you jump. The entire archive (46 episodes so far) is available here.

We hope these stories inspire you as much as they have us. If so, please share Kind World with others, and let us know. You can also follow Kind World on Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks. Here’s to a brighter and kinder future, together.

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Top 10 Inspiring Women’s Events

Create Cultivate Women's Conference “Seize every opportunity you can to advocate for the women who are advocating for everyone else.” – Melinda Gates

When you invest in women, change happens. Because when a woman thrives, a family thrives, a community prospers, and an entire nation is better able to create a foundation for peace and prosperity.

That is what many people believe and advocate, and we’re 100% with them. At Prosperity Candle, we’ve been investing in women in places like Haiti, Iraq and refugees here in the U.S. for the past 8 years because we believe it leads to a brighter future for everyone, everywhere.

Today people all over the world are focusing on the power of women to create big and lasting change. And for good reason. Check out Time Magazine’s recently published series Firsts: Women Who Are Changing the World that showcases inspiring women who are indeed making big and lasting change happen.

Want to get involved? Great! Reach out to women’s groups in your area to connect with like-minded people, and take a look at this list of upcoming events across the U.S. and in London that have inspired us. They take place every year, so if one has already passed, mark your calendar for the next one!

Upcoming Events

IWF World Leadership Conference: The Global Citizen (Oct. 25-27): This conference draws women from over 30 countries, connecting leaders and innovators to create a more equitable world. The International Women’s Forum holds global events, and this year’s IWF World Leadership Conference is in Houston, Texas on October 25th to 27th. The conference will focus on energy, health, space exploration, and more. Connect with IWF on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

TEDWomen 2017: Bridges (Nov. 1-3): This inspiring event focuses on women and girls as TED Women 2017 Bridges as part of Top 10 Inspiring Women's Events at Prosperity Candlepowerful innovators, creators, and change-makers. The 3 day conference in New Orleans November 1-3 is centered around women sharing powerful ideas and making connections. Some of this year’s bold speakers include social activist Valarie Kaur, leading international soccer scorer Abby Wambach, her activist wife Glennon Doyle, feminist actor Justin Baldoni, and author/poet Cleo Wade, who are all doing amazing work to propel women and girls forward. Connect with them on Twitter and Facebook. This one sells out quickly, so be sure to get on the list for next year!

WDN Connect (Nov. 9-12): The Women Donors Network is a network of women philanthropists who invest in progressive change for a more fair world through grantmaking and advocacy. WDN Connect started in 2013 as a way to connect women change-makers and progressive speakers and engage with local and national leaders. This year’s conference takes place November 9-12 in Atlanta and will focus on issues of race, equity, and gender. There will be conversations and workshops around building inclusive communities, protest and power, and the role of women donors during a time of resistance. Sally Yates kicks off the event with a talk. Join the community on Twitter and Facebook.

8th Womensphere Emerging Leaders Global Summit: The Next Generation of Women Leaders Creating the Future (Nov. 10-11): Womensphere is an organization that invests in women innovation and leadership development to empower women to create a better future and world. This year’s Emerging Leaders Global Summit is held in New York City November 10-11th. The event celebrates and connects women who are transforming the world through leadership, innovation, creativity, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and design, and math), entrepreneurship, and sustainability. Connect with them on Twitter and Facebook for inspiring news and updates.

Tech Up for Women Conference (Nov. 14): This exciting event is about empowering Tech Up for Women conference as part of Top 10 Inspiring Women's Events at Prosperity Candle.women in technology, and it is launching this November 14th in New York City. Women in tech, this is not an event to miss! Connect with them on Facebook.

Trust Conference (Nov. 15-16): The Trust Conference is an event that started in 2012 as Trust Women, where global corporations, world leaders, lawyers, and change-makers come together to discuss advancing women’s rights and ending slavery. The conference takes place in London November 15-16 and focuses on taking action. It has expanded this year to also include larger global human rights issues. Join the community on Twitter.

The Massachusetts Conference for Women  (Dec. 7): This is a sell-out one-day annual Massachusetts Conference for Women as part of the Top 10 Inspiring Women's Events at Prosperity Candle.event where women in the workplace gather to talk about entrepreneurship, personal finance, business, and health. We’ve been many times, and even participated! This year features inspirational speakers Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, and Adam Grant. The one-day conference takes place on December 7th in Boston, MA. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook for inspirational content and news.

Create & Cultivate LA (Feb 24): A one-day event for women looking to create and cultivate Lauren Conrad Hannah Skvarla Create & Cultivate LA Prosperity Candlethe career of their dreams. Feel inspired, enhance your business, mix, mingle and cultivate new friendships. At Create & Cultivate you are destined to meet other talented, like-minded women, including our incredible and inspiring partners Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla who will be the keynote speakers! Join the next generation of curious creatives, entrepreneurs and bosses to spark conversation around the topics they are passionate about from influencer marketing and brand building to raising money.  Connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Mark Your Calendar For Next Year

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (Oct. 4-6): This October 4-6th is the world’s largest gathering of women in computing in Orlando, FL, produced by the Anita Borg Institute. Attendees will hear from women leaders in computing and network with a community of women technologists. Keynote speakers include philanthropist Melinda Gates, Dr. Ayanna Howard, Dr. Fei-Fei Li, and Mary Spio, CEO and President of CEEK VR INC. Follow GHC on Twitter and Facebook for inspiring updates on women in tech. (Last year we made custom candles for attendees)

Emerging Women Live: Changing the World (Oct. 5-8): This inspiring event brings engaging speakers to talk about creative entrepreneurship, courage, self-compassion, and leadership from a woman’s lens. This year’s Emerging Women Live is held in Denver, CO on October 5th to October 8th, and features speaker Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement. Connect with Emerging Women on Facebook and Twitter.

Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit (Oct. 9-11): Every year, Fortune Magazine partners with large businesses to host a three-day Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit to highlight today’s women leaders in business. The summit is October 9-11 in Washington, D.C., and includes networking opportunities, one-on-one interviews, and panels to inspire participants. Some of this year’s speakers are Sheryl Sandberg, Co-founder of LeanIn.Org and Facebook COO, Sally Yates, U.S. Department of Justice and Former Deputy Attorney General, and Gretchen Carlson, Journalist and Women’s Empowerment Advocate. Connect with the community of women business leaders on Facebook and Twitter.

Women in the Workplace (Oct. 10): Women in the Workplace was started in 2015 by The Wall Street Journal as an annual event to discuss the current state of women in the workplace and address challenges and successes. This year the dinner will be held on October 10 in New York City. Speakers Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, and Dominic Barton, McKinsey & Company global managing director, will talk about the Women in the Workplace 2017 survey findings and what they mean. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook for news and updates on the event.

What Did We Miss?

OK, that was actually 12 not 10, but there are so many great ways that amazing women are joining forces… which inspiring events did we miss? We’d love feedback and to hear your thoughts on any you’ve attended. Please let us know in the comments below!Save

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Support Breast Cancer Research & Treatment

Prosperity Candle donating to Breast Cancer Research Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness Month to support research and treatment.

One in eight women in the U.S. develop invasive breast cancer in her life, and most have no family history of it. That’s why self-exams, screenings, and knowing risk factors are so important. They can mean the difference of someone’s life.

Equally important is research. Every day countless organizations invest in developing better treatments for breast cancer and to find a cure. Ultimately, they seek to prevent it. In the last 15 years, the rates of breast cancer in the U.S. have started going down because of this tireless effort as well as increased awareness, which allows for early detection and more successful treatment.

Women make powerful contributions to families, communities, the economy and the world at large. And while October is a single month in a long journey toward a cure, spreading awareness and offering support and compassion to women battling breast cancer happens every day throughout the year and makes a huge difference. This is a fight we can all be united in.

Please consider making a donation this month to an organization battling breast cancer.

We are drawn to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for its A+ rating by Charity Watch and 4 stars given by Charity Navigator. But there are many others equally worthy of your support (see list below).

If you have already made a donation and have gift-giving on your mind, you can also make an impact with a Brilliance Candle, now with new cover sleeves to reflect your sentiments. Each is handmade by a woman refugee earning a living wage here in the U.S.  We will donate 10% of all proceeds to BCRF.

Soy blend Brilliance Candle ethically handmade by women refugees at Prosperity Candle with 10% proceeds to go to Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

If you’d like to get more involved, here is a list of breast cancer organizations in the U.S that offer research and resources – all are rated 4 stars by Charity Navigator. There are also various online communities and forums where current survivors, breast cancer patients, and communities can connect and receive support.

  1. National Breast Cancer Research Foundation – A nonprofit organization committed to achieving prevention and a cure for breast cancer. They provide critical funding for cancer research worldwide to fuel advances in tumor biology, genetics, prevention, treatment, metastasis and survivorship.
  2. National Breast Cancer Foundation – A charity that helps women by providing services, education, and inspiring hope to those affected by breast cancer, for example by providing mammograms to women in need.
  3. Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation – An organization that works to achieve a future without breast cancer and improve the lives of people impacted by it now through education, advocacy, and collaborative cutting-edge research on cause and prevention.
  4. Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation – A nonprofit dedicated to making innovative contributions to the understanding, research, and treatment of breast cancer.
  5. It’s The Journey, Inc. – An organization founded in 2002 in Georgia that raises money for breast health and breast cancer programs that focus on screening, diagnostics, genetic counseling and testing, support services, and research.
  6. Prevent Cancer Foundation – The Prevent Cancer Foundation saves lives across all populations by focusing individual behaviors, public policy, and research on prevention and early detection.
  7. Bay Area Cancer Connections – This organization offers free programs, services, and access to care including emotional support, cancer information and education, complementary therapies, health and wellness, and survivorship programs.
  8. Breastcancer.org – A nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the most reliable, complete, and up-to-date information about breast cancer to help women and their loved ones make sense of the complex medical and personal information.
  9. Living Beyond Breast CancerAn organization that provide programs and services to help people whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer and connect people with trusted breast cancer information and a community of support.
  10. Casting for Recovery – Casting for Recovery combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic fly fishing to enhance the quality of life of women with breast cancer.

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Sesame Street & IRC: Helping Refugee Children

Sesame Street Workshop IRC helping Syrian refugee children with education opportunities

The ability of education to change lives is amazing. The women refugees here in the studio often share how grateful they are to have received education and healthcare from the International Rescue Committee while living in refugee camps, and what it has meant for them, their families, and especially their children.

Moo Kho says she uses the math she learned in a refugee camp every day to calculate the correct amount of fragrance to blend into wax. More importantly, Moo Kho is hopeful her four young daughters will one day go to college to pursue a master’s or doctorate’s degree and become leaders in a field of their choosing. To her, it doesn’t matter what they pursue as long as they can determine their own futures.

This vision of a brighter future originated in a refugee camp, and was made possible by education provided by international support. That’s why we are so happy that the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Sesame Workshop are partnering to bring local, culturally-relevant learning opportunities to millions of refugee children displaced from their homes in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and northern Iraq.

Sesame Street Workshop and IRC providing education program to Syrian refugee Children

These children are undergoing terrible trauma from war and conflict – and being uprooted from their homes – and are deprived of that basic childhood experience of learning and playing that most of us here in the U.S. were fortunate to have. Bringing love and care to these refugee children through education is important for them to be able to cope with challenges and begin the process of healing. Because these children are still so young, a nurturing learning environment has the power to reverse the effects of traumatic stress.

A whole generation of refugee children whose future and development is at risk will now have an opportunity to follow a different path and, hopefully, grow into adults who can thrive in their communities and contribute to the world.

We feel tremendous gratitude to Sesame Workshop for supporting these young  refugee children and helping bring them a brighter future. We believe that kindness and compassion are the ingredients for making the world a better place, and there is no better place to start than with children.

IRC and Sesame Street Workshop helping Syrian refugee children through education and opportunity

Read more about IRC and Sesame Workshop’s work with Syrian refugee children.

And please watch and share: great video of actor Mandy Patinkin and Sesame Street’s Grover talking about education for refugee children. It’s short and inspiring!

#nolostgeneration #standwithrefugees #achildisachild #refugeecrisis #childrenuprooted #missionforchildren #savethechildren #wakeupworld #sesamestreet

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Link/source: https://www.rescue.org/article/irc-and-sesame-workshop-bring-education-and-hope-refugee-children

Image sources: https://www.rescue.org/article/irc-sesame-workshop-rescuing-childrens-futures

Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=121&v=AFfw5MQdnTw

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Women’s Equality Day – Why It Matters

Today, Saturday, August 26th, we are celebrating Women’s Equality Day, where we highlight the enormous women’s civil rights achievement that created the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920, giving women the long-awaited and hard-fought-for right to vote in the United States.

As a studio mainly made up of women, we are sometimes shocked at how long this took and yet how little we think of it today. In the past year, three of our team members have become citizens and now have the right to vote, and we were reminded of how momentous it is.

Women's Equality Day and why it matters to Prosperity Candle and women refugees making fair trade handmade soy blend candles
We have come a long way and we all know there is still more work to do both in the United States and around the world in terms of women’s equality. Currently, the wage gap for women persists in the United States, with women earning on average 80 cents to the dollar. For women of color and mothers who are head of households, the wage gap is even larger.

We recognize that around the world today, women are fighting for equality in rights to economic resources, opportunities for leadership, representation, and access to education. In Yemen, not only do women need their husband’s permission to leave their own home, but in court cases, women only count as half a witness.

While we recognize that there is more work ahead, we still will be celebrating Women’s Equality Day today. Let’s use this suffragette movement as an inspiration to continue working toward a future of women’s equality in the United States and around the world.  

Who are refugees? Stand with them!

World Refugee Day Refugees Children“In my experience, going home is the deepest wish of most refugees.” – Angelina Jolie

Stand #WithRefugees on June 20th, #WorldRefugeeDay.

At this moment, there are over 21 million refugees in the world, and many more who are displaced from their homes. In fact, there are more refugees and displaced people now than at any other time in history. Over half are children.

It’s a number that feels totally overwhelming. Here is another that feels the opposite… rather underwhelming: just 162,500 were referred for resettlement last year by UNHCR – the U.N.’s refugee organization. The U.S., Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and Scandinavian countries took in most of them.

Resettlement is an incredibly rare opportunity. Less than 1% of those seeking safety and a brighter future are given the chance to do so. You are 13 times more likely to be admitted to Harvard University than to the U.S. as a refugee, and first you must undergo an 18-24 month screening process. Of all people entering our country, refugees are by far the most carefully scrutinized.

Who are they? Refugees are people fleeing their country because of violence and persecution due to race, religion, ethnic group, nationality or political opinion. They are mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, grandparents, aunts and uncles. They are not leaving for economic reasons, and given the choice would return to their homes. We know this from the many we have worked with here at Prosperity Candle… women who were forced to run for their lives, leaving behind everything they knew and cherished.

The journey is difficult and dangerous, usually ending in temporary camps with insufficient food, shelter or medical care. School is interrupted for children, and parents can no longer work to earn a living. Families end up living in these conditions for years, even decades.

And yet, they are hopeful. They are resilient. They are strong. They are wonderful people who contribute to our communities, our democracy and our economy.

We encourage you to take a moment to meet Solaf (a 9 year old girl who loves to draw), Mojtaba (22 year old biologist researching cancer), and Baw Meh (78 year old woman who dreams of a safer future for her grandchildren). Your day will be enriched for doing so.

Then join Cate Blanchett, Ben Stiller and millions more adding their names to this petition to send a clear message all governments to act with compassion, in solidarity and shared responsibility.

And on June 20th #WorldRefugeeDay, tell the world you stand #WithRefugees and #EmbraceRefugees.

Thank you!

Watch more at Refugee Day Stories
Learn more at Embrace Refugees
Be sure to sign the Refugee Day Petition

Quick Facts from UNHCR
Top photo by P. Biro/IRC

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