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It is quite ordinary these days to read names of celebrities and big-time people in society give a percentage of their money to the needy people of third-world countries. They do this by supporting and donating to charity institutions that aim to protect or support different causes.  Some of these institutions’ programs center on homeless kids in Africa, some on malnourished children to another part in the world, and there are also others that support the welfare of abused women and children.

The word needy is quite a broad term. defines it as [someone] “in a condition of need or want; poverty-stricken; impoverished; extremely poor; destitute.” It does not just refer to people who are financially poor. It may also refer to people who are in dire and abusive situation such as domestic abuse. Basically, the needy people are those who are in deep need for help to rise above and get away from their current horrific situations.

In early history, women have not been given as much importance as men. In many societies in the past, women were not sent to schools or any venue of formal education. Women were merely made to stay home and be trained to do household chores and other homemaking duties to prep them for the married life. Women who fought against that discrimination were often ridiculed upon or received rejection from their societies.

In some events, women were not given the same rights as men, as in their inability to exercise the supposed right to suffrage. However, despite the many hardships women from different times have suffered, many have risen above the sexual discrimination and made a name for themselves by changing the world with their love for the people in need.  These women helped the poor, gave access to the underprivileged, and paved the way for reforms to help individuals stand on their own two feet.

If you are thinking about making a difference, here’s a list of 5 women, who made a difference by helping the needy, that might inspire you.

Michelle Obama

The wife of then President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama has made quite a name in charity efforts herself. She initiated and launched several movements that aimed to promote healthy lifestyle, education, and empowerment. Michelle has touched so many lives all across America that even when Former President Obama’s ratings fluctuated, hers remained high.

Oprah Winfrey

When it comes to popularly generous celebrities, Oprah Winfrey is the one likely to come up first. It has been reported that she has donated millions of dollars to charity institutions, three of which received the bulk of the donations. These charities are The Angel Network, Oprah Winfrey Foundation, and the Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation. Sometimes, donation she receives from other sources go directly to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. Other than supporting these charity institutions, Oprah also uses some of her to time to volunteer to other charity causes and events

Nora Roberts

Dubbed by The New Yorker as “America’s favorite novelist, Nora Roberts is an internationally popular writer. True to her profession, the Nora Roberts Foundation is primarily focused on Literacy support. Its support prioritizes local organizations. The foundation also supports Children’s programs, humanitarian efforts, and arts organizations.

Isabel Allende

She is a Chilean-American international best-selling author of the books The House of Spirits, The City of Beasts, and the memoir of her daughter who died at the age of 29, Paula. Among her best-selling pieces, she has authored more than 20 more books that have been translated in 35 languages and copies sold reached more than 67 million. While Isabel is best-known as a journalist and a writer, her foundation The Isabel Allende Foundation is also a quite popular charity institution that has been “laser-focused on supporting and empowering women around the world and makes grants in education, reproductive rights, healthcare, and more.”

Angelina Jolie

Popularly known all over the world as an award-winning actress and movie director, Angelina is also an active humanitarian and is a Goodwill Ambassador of the UNCHR. Angelina became even more interested in humanitarian work when she filmed in Cambodia for her Lara Croft movie. She later became a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and became very participative and active in her role. She traveled to areas in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, and Darfur extensively despite reports if disputes in these areas.

Her advocacies also are not limited to such humanitarian works with the UN. She also actively lobbies campaigns that support children’s education, and the protection of child immigrants, and other children in need as well.  In fact, she has helped put up education policies with the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict. Jolie has also successfully gathered a network of lawyers that champions in the human rights advocacy in developing countries, under the Jolie Legal Fellowship she herself established.

These women who have impacted the world greatly with their advocacies to help the needy have gone through countless ordeals that they overcame because of their commitment and passion to help. If you want to do the same, you can start within your family and your community. Take a leap in leading at making the world a better place with the skills and resources that are within your reach. You don’t need lots of money to start. All you need is the passion to help those who are in need and the commitment to keep going in your advocacy no matter what – just like these 5 women who made a difference, in their own ways, to the world we live in.

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IMPACT 100 brings together thousands of women writing $1,000 checks adds up to millions for communities across the country.  The women who are involved are from everywhere in the country and have the ability to write checks for $1,000.  Combining these funds allows IMPACT 100 to help numerous non-profits in a big, big way.  If you’d like to learn more about IMPACT 100 you can visit their website here.

This thirty year old non-profit works to build a stronger California for women and those living in poverty.  With decades of momentum and sixteen legislative wins to date, the Foundation is known as an early funder of human trafficking intervention and prevention, lesbian and transgender rights, environmental health, criminal justice work and campaigns to build women’s economic security.

If you would like to learn more about the Women’s Foundation of California or become a supporter please click the link here.

I just received this inspiring update from Erin Ganju, CEO and Co-Founder, Room to Read.

Dear Friends,

As we approach the end of another remarkable year here at Room to Read, we can’t help but be emboldened by the stories we hear from the students, parents and teachers in our programs regarding the impact of our work on their lives. One of my favorite stories this year comes from a scholar in our Girl’s Education program in Cambodia and her mother, who I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with while I was traveling through Southeast Asia. They shared with me what an immense difference the academic and financial support she has received from Room to Read have made in her ability to excel in school. Beyond that, our life skills workshops and access to a mentor have helped her set tangible goals for herself so that she can achieve her dream of becoming a teacher. This story–and countless others like it–would never have been possible without your kind support.

As we look forward to the coming year, we hope that you will choose to be a part of the bold goals we have set. In 2012, we are thrilled to be launching programs in our 10th country, Tanzania, and continuing our momentous progress across all areas of operation.

In the next year, we will be focused on enhancing the quality and variety of life skills workshops we conduct with our girl scholars to empower them with the tools they need to negotiate key life decisions. We will be broadening our work in literacy to incorporate teacher professional development to ensure that all children have the support they need to establish a solid foundation in literacy. Our global team will be focused on integrating our school library, construction, book publishing and literacy instructional activities into a cohesive, unified literacy program. We will also be initiating new program innovations, such as country-specific book leveling guidelines, to help match students with the appropriate reading materials for their skill level. Through these actions, we hope to help children develop the habits and skills they need to become independent readers and lifelong learners.

We are dedicated to changing the world by providing children with access to high quality education, and we want to thank you for the invaluable role you have played in helping us achieve that goal. So far, we have impacted the lives of over six million children across Asia and Africa, but there is still much to do. If you have not invested in our work this year, please consider making a year-end gift to help expand our programs. Your investment will impact not only in the lives of the children we work with, but their families and communities as well.

On behalf of the entire Room to Read family, we sincerely thank you for all of your generous support and wish you and your family the very best in the coming year.

Warm regards,

Erin Ganju
CEO and Co-Founder
Room to Read
111 Sutter Street
16th Floor
San Francisco, Calif. USA