Portrait of a Global Humanitarian
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"In my field of travel writing, the description 'life-changing' is bandied about loosely, but I could not be more sincere when I say this trip (February 2007 Nagaur Relief Ride) changed my life." (read more) -- Andrew Mersmann, author of Frommer's "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference"
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Relief Riders International
P. O. Box 615
Great Barrington, MA
February 17th, 2013
We are delighted to announce the winner of the first ever Relief Riders International Social Entrepreneur Scholarship. This meaningful international program was was generously supported by our friends in Dubai.
Our Young Social Entrepreneur Scholarship program drew a large response from people in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. We were delighted and grateful to all of the applicants who shared their work with us.
In the end, RRI decided to award the Scholarship to a woman supporting women in Ethiopia.
Our Social Entrepreneur Scholarship 2012 winner, Kristie McLean, is a documentary photographer, writer, and professional coach with a passion for empowering others through conversations and images.
She has traveled extensively to more than 50 countries on six continents and is dedicated to raising awareness of global social issues and human rights. Over the years she has profiled child brides in Afghanistan, Unexploded Ordnances in Laos, and access to clean water in Kenya.
Kristie first traveled to Ethiopia in 2010 to profile the childbirth injury of Obstetric Fistula, a debilitating condition that often leaves women outcast from their communities and struggling to survive. After meeting these woman (many of them teenagers) Kristie created an innovative solution to fund health and education programs for Fistula patients in the small town of Begi in Western Wologa.
Working to forge partnerships with local businesses Kristie found a company who agreed to build a grain mill for the local community (an essential labor saving device) funds from which support the Fistula patients. The mill serves about 3,500 people, and grinds grains such as wheat, barley, and tef for rural women who would otherwise have to do the backbreaking work by hand.
For all of us at Relief Riders International, it was clear that Kristie's work in Ethiopia was exemplary. Her ability to create an innovative and sustainable program built on local resources to support local women, inspired our choice.
In addition to creating this program, Kristie led her first Voluntourism trip to Begi, offering individuals from the US to meet the community and bring their own ideas of how to support these women further.
We look forward to being able to offer this wonderful scholarship opportunity again in the near future and learning about other world changing projects young social entrepreneurs are working on.
Please join us on one of our upcoming rides:
November 2013 Pushkar Relief Ride:
November 5 - November 19th, 2013
"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." -- Helen Keller
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