I was fortunate to meet the most astonishing and brilliant women recently and to get involved with a truly amazing charity project called SHE. Creates
SHE. Creates is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to improve the lives of women by nurturing their creative talents. This is about engaging young women in art and design precisely in regions were both arts education is undervalued and there is a palpable need for infrastructure to support and empower women. While arts education is nascent in many centres of the Western world, the deficit is still noticeable in many developing countries. ‘The organization aims to combine the drive to make the arts more accessible in these regions with the desire to inspire and empower women who would have never had the opportunity to achieve their creative goals’.
Two young and intelligent women, Mimi Shodeinde and Andrea Ramirez, met at university in Edinburgh a few years back. Andrea was studying to be a chemical engineer and Mimi a degree in Interior Architecture. Despite their seemingly different paths and backgrounds, they were united by their interests in art. ‘We both knew we wanted to fuse the concepts of a community platform, with charitable work, all the while having a focus on the arts’ said Andrea.
For Mimi, art and creativity had a special relevance and she herself used it to navigate her way through challenging times: ‘during a time of uncertainty, I decided, instead of dwelling on everything, why not put all my energy into me, my art, my creativity, my career, and that’s how SHE. Creates came about. This is my way of giving back and if I can help another girl or woman, achieve her creative goals, I have definitely served my purpose in life’.
Setting out, both knew very well the personal and social value of a creative outlet- it is a cultural and economic power. The organisation started as an initiative to create a community to share this power with women, who otherwise would not have access to it. They are about sharing the opportunities they have had with women who have not but it is also female welfare project with the general aim of enlightening the social position of women in certain communities-an excellent campaign to promote the value of nurturing creativity and empowering women.
The organisation plans to undertake the cost of education of five girls every year from different developing regions. It will also participate in other creative projects in keeping with its ideology. Like ThandieKay, SHE. Creates is founded on a strong sense of community amongst women. Mimi and Andrea themselves are testimonies to the strength and success of sisterhood. Andrea noted of the organization that: ‘our success thus far, is down to the fact that we really are like two peas in a pod – we have the same vision but, we each have what the other lacks in order to achieve it’.