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Using arts to help launch businesses in the DR Congo!


I thought I should drop a couple of lines to tell you a little bit about our henna party and the lady who made it possible. Yesterday, Ayesha Alam, a local artist from Plymouth, Minnesota hosted a henna party for First Step Initiative to help us raise awareness as well as raise funds to support our microfinance work in the Congo. Ayesha is an up and coming artist, and she is a very talented individual. She has been involved with First Step Initiative as a volunteer public relations and marketing strategist since February, 2008. She hails from Bangladesh, where microlending efforts of the renowned Dr. Muhammad Yunus were recently recognized through a Nobel Peace Prize.
When asked of her interest in First Step Initiative, she simply responded that “First step initiative hits very close to home for me. I’ve watched the individual faces of extreme poverty pretty much drown in technicalities of political infrastructure. It’s as if the majority have waited forever for a panacea, of sorts. The children continue to wait hungry, and people who sincerely want to help are so overwhelmed by the magnitude of this situation that they don’t know where to begin.”
So why an organization that helps people in the Congo, of all places? “Food shouldn’t have to be a luxury, anywhere. If there is no universal solution, it’s important that we approach the individuals in need directly with help now, regardless of man-made borders, wherever they need us, one person at a time,” Ayesha added.
Ayesha is an amazing individual and I have enjoyed working with her. Yesterday was magical to me. It was certainly an amazing experience to be in her presence and watch her unleash her creativity and use her talents to support a cause that she cares so deeply. Watching her create beauty made me feel like a child full of wonder. Perhaps, when you see the photographs below you will see why I was taken by her artwork. She is indeed talented.

I feel lucky and I am grateful to have support from many people like Ayesha. In fact, First Step Initiative would not be where it is today without the support from many individuals throughout the country who have invested their time, talents and money to help First Step Initiative take bigger and bigger steps. I know that, alone I can only do so much. But together, we stand a chance to make our world community a better place for all of us. So, thank you for reading my post and hope that you will join me in this exciting journey as we continue to spread microfinance opportunity in the DR Congo.



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