Harvard Crimson: “Circle of Women Makes a World of Difference”

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The Harvard Crimson published the article “Circle of Women Makes World of Difference”. April 30, 2008

From Michael Buckley:

“Following the proverb “Drop by drop you make a river,” a group of female undergrads is making a difference $30 by $30.

The Circle of Women, a nonprofit organization founded by Harvard students, has started an initiative to get 30 women under 30 to donate $30 in 30 days—and to get each woman to recruit another 30 students to the cause. The money will go to the construction of a school for women in Afghanistan, where the female literacy rate is just 12 percent.

“Our mission is two pronged,” says Circle co-founder Cristina M. Ros ’08. “Part of it is awareness-raising and part of it is fundraising.” Having already collected half of the $115,000 need to finish the project, the Circle of Women is well on its way to accomplishing their mission.

The Circle prides itself on the transparency of their donation process. “If you give us $12, you are buying a chalkboard, you are not just giving $12 into a pot of money we have,” Ros says. “Fifteen dollars, and you are giving a teacher’s salary for a month.”

Despite the name, the Circle of Women is open to the other sex as well. Nearing the end of their 30-day project, the group is launching a new campaign in time for Mother’s Day, which invites men to donate money in their mother’s name. Using these creative fundraising techniques, the Circle of Women has found a lot of fans.

“The thing that attracted me was that the girls took so much initiative in coming up with an idea with so much ingenuity,” says donor Neagheen Homaifar ’10.

Even with their goal as of yet unreached, the Circle of Women is already seeing results: construction of the school began a few weeks ago. Successfully building the school bit by bit, the group is pleased with the difference their effort is starting to make.

Co-founder Britt Caputo ’08 says of the process, “As a small group of friends we can actually make an impact on the community of women in Afghanistan that we have never met.””