#Makelemonaid for Vietnamese women and girls
PHOTO COURTESY CAROLINE FOTHERINGHAM, PLAN CANADA Women gather at a Plan Netherlands Village Savings and Loan group in Vietnam. Brother Canada employees are asking for public support to create 15 such clubs with Plan Canada.
When you think of Brother Canada, printers probably come to mind. So it may come as a surprise to learn Brother Canada employees have teamed up with Plan Canada for #Makelemonaid, a fundraising campaign aimed at helping break a cycle of poverty for some of Vietnam’s most vulnerable women and girls and they’re asking for public support.
The goal is to raise enough money to start 15 entrepreneur’s clubs in rural Vietnam, places that give women tools to save money and even start their own small businesses, by making it possible to take out small, low-interest loans. As well, to address barriers to girl’s education, Plan Canada will improve physical education structure and work with communities to build a social infrastructure that supports and values girls’ education, Victoria Salvador, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother Canada, said in an email. “This means that learning environments will be upgraded, teachers will be trained, and parents will learn the value of investing in their daughters’ education,” Salvador said.
Since the campaign’s June launch, Brother Canada employees across Canada have embraced a friendly internal fundraising competition. They’ve raised about $14,000 for #Makelemonaid but need to raise another $8500 before the end of 2015, Salvador said.
“We would really love it for the public to support the campaign,” Salvador said in a phone interview. “Plan Canada has done this in other countries such as Ghana and we’ve seen the effects in Ghana,” she said. “We watch as these women come together and build their own clubs, start their own businesses and really become empowered in their own community.
“We think it’s just such a fabulous cause and we’re really excited to have the community understand that every dollar they contribute gets matched by Brother Canada and they’ll be making a real difference for entire communities in Vietnam,” Salvador said.
“Our employees actually went above and beyond and they out-fundraised what we expected them to fundraise,” Salvador said, pointing out this summer employees at Brother Canada’s Dollard-des-Ormeaux headquarters sold handmade good, held bake sales, and organized barbecues, silent auctions, pie throwing contests and Bring Your Pet to Work days. While the ‘when life hands you lemons - make lemonade’ metaphor was used for the campaign, the lemonade was symbolic and in most cases given away free to passersby though employees also brought the campaign’s lemonade stand home, she said.
“We have this great little lemonade stand that they can take and do some fundraising in their own driveway with their kids and teaching the kids about entrepreneurship as well,” Salvador said. “But we haven’t been vocal outside of our neighbourhood, in and around Dollard-des-Ormeaux. So we want to start getting the word out.
“This is not going to happen unless we all come together,” she said. “It’s not something like any other charity that says well, contribute to the charity, this is contributing to these 15 clubs. When we hit that $22,000 mark and Brother doubles it, there will be 15 clubs open in Vietnam.”
To donate to #Makelemonaid, visit www.makelemonaid.ca