International Women’s Day Feature

International Women’s Day Feature 
Microsoft Women Discover their Innovation Essence through Mentoring.
 
Feature Story: Margo Day, Retired Vice President, US Education
Dear Partner,
 
Margo Day is a mentor extraordinaire. Global Give Back Circle became involved in West Pokot, Kenya because of Margo’s passion and vision for a world where harmful cultural practices, which marginalize women and girls, no longer exists, and all girls are encouraged to dream big and find fulfillment and happiness in life.
 
Our ‘West Pokot Story’ continues to evolve, and to date, 512 girls from West Pokot have completed ‘HER Lab’, a 6-month Economic Empowerment Program providing Digital Skills, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce-Readiness Prep. 333 girls have continued onto college, of which 151 have graduated and are entering the workforce. This is unprecedented in West Pokot and was made possible through Microsoft’s strong GIVE Culture and Margo’s unstoppable drive for gender equity.
 
This International Women’s Day, we are paying tribute to our fellow mentor and change-maker, Margo Day. Margo shared with us how mentoring Lilian, has impacted her life. Lilian shared some thoughts too. We selected the photo below because of its interesting origin. Lilian was married in 2019 and Margo traveled to Lilian’s village to attend her wedding. The photo illuminates the love that connects the two of them. When Margo inquired about what kind of gift would be appropriate, she was told that gifting the couple with a cow would be the best gift of all. So, when Margo reached Kenya, she purchased a cow and she and the cow participated in the marriage procession walk through Lilian’s village!
 
“When I started mentoring, my mindset was to help guide Lilian, and instill confidence in this young woman as she took steps to chart a new path for her life and blaze a trail for others. And while I’ve played that role, what I’ve learned is Lilian has an indomitable spirit and is excited about this uncharted adventure. She tries new experiences, meets people not of her tribe and values what she learns from them, and isn’t fearful to fail. She’s grounded with a deep faith in God, and her faith provides her with an assurance that God will make a way. So, I think I’ve learned much more from her about approaching life with an open mindset, than she from me!”
 
– Margo Day Retired Vice President, US Education
“Last year, something happened that I never thought possible. After over a decade of being forced into an early marriage, I married the man that I love and we have started a family together. My mentor, Margo, travelled to West Pokot, Kenya to participate in the wedding and presented us with a special wedding gift, a healthy cow. Margo has been a part of my life ever since 2009 when she visited Kenya and learned about us girls who were subjected to harmful cultural practices, but had the courage to stand up for our rights, escape our circumstances and seek protection and the right to an education by making our way to the Morpus Rescue Center, a safe house for at-risk girls. Thanks to my mentor’s guidance and support, I was able to acquire invaluable digital skills, attend college and even open a business and employ others. Today, I am capable of taking care of my needs and taking care of my family. As a woman with a bright future, I believe I need to continuously give back to my community by ensuring everyone is aware that girls require equal rights to education, and that circumcision for girls is harmful. My mentor has been my best friend. She is a voice of reason and a source of motivation for me. I hope to one day reach her level and help as many people as she has.”
 
-Lilian, Beauty Salon Owner & Employer
 
Thank you for being a mentor to a girl in the Global Give Back Circle. You are such an important part of the movement. We know it is not always easy to mentor a girl who is oceans away. We know that there are always challenges with internet access and connectivity.   But, you stay with her and you never judge. For all of these reasons, we appreciate you more than you will ever know.
 
Sincerely,
The Global Give Back Circle Team
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