Thousand Oaks Moms Helping Poor, Starving Moms Living 10,000 Miles Away in Uganda Start Their Own Businesses

Annual Fundraiser Coming Up: The Evolving Thousand Oaks Non-Profit The Greater Contribution is Doing More to Help the Struggling Women of Uganda Create a Much Better Life for Themselves and Children

Thousand Oaks-based The Greater Contribution, a non-profit organization committed to “empowering women to work their way out of poverty” around the world, will host its 13th annual fundraising event from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 9 at the Lundgren Center, 130 Overton Court on the campus of Cal Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks.

A locally based, all-volunteer nonprofit organization, TGC was founded in 2006 by a group of women from the Conejo Valley who wanted to make a contribution to the world by helping those most in need. Their focus is on women and their families living in eastern Uganda struggling to survive. By providing the women with micro-loans” ranging from $50 to $300, they are able to start or expand small businesses, become self-sufficient and provide the daily basics of life, including more than one meal each day. Women in Uganda are typically the breadwinners and earn only $36 each month, but as a result of the program, after only two years, their monthly income increases to $150, a 400% increase.

“Time after time, these amazing women have taken a small opportunity and turned their lives around, creating greater opportunity for their children and the entire family,” said TGC President Karon A. Wright. “These women gained so much self-confidence that they were able to step up to leadership roles in the program and run for and be elected into office.

Karon Wright giving loans

Since it was founded, the organization, has raised nearly $500,000. About 15,000 loans have been provided beginning in 2009, helping more than 40,000 people. The goal this year is to raise $175,000.

“Our volunteers in Ventura County quietly go about their work of improving the lives of countless people around the globe. I am so proud of them and so should the community,” Wright said. “And we are so grateful to our donors. Without their continued support, none of this could have been possible.” 

Wright, who is a CNN Hero nominee, points out that for every $80 a woman borrows, she will receive five days of business skills training and mentoring as well as a new feature of the program, teaching Ugandan women how to read and write. Loans are repaid over 90 days and the money is loaned out over and over again. Approximately, 98% of the loans have been repaid.  

TGC continues to grow and evolve. The recently implemented “Access to Justice,” gives women who are subject to domestic abuse counseling by a trained social worker and any needed legal representation. In addition, the organization distributes sanitary pads for free or at a very low-cost to enable girls to remain in school and escape the cycle of poverty.

The event will include a wine and hors d’ oeuvres reception, African jewelry for sale, a walk-through display of various aspects of the program and videos highlights of previous trips to Uganda. In addition, acclaimed singer-song writer Dona Oxford will perform original music she exclusively composed for the event. And there will be more, including local actors playing Ugandan women discussing their journeys from out of the darkness into the light, how they began their businesses and created more stable lives for their children, how they became community leaders and overcame disabilities.

“This fundraiser gives people a chance to hear the actual words of our borrowers express how a small gift in the form of a loan can have a major, catalytic impact in the fight against poverty, empowering them to gain economic stability, education and even elevate themselves to roles in their local government,” Wright said. “All of this in a society that is male dominant and in which they’ve been severely disadvantaged until now.”

“People attending will learn how simple and inexpensive it is to make a life-changing difference in the lives of poor, but amazing, hardworking women,” she continued. “And what a joy it is to see real results from your donations.”

For more information, please visit http://www.GreaterContribution.org. Tickets are now available at:  https://secure.donationpay.org/greatercontribution/awomansworth.php.

Adult Literacy Graudate receiving diploma from Karon Wright


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