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Community & World Development
The Humanitarian Beauty Project
The mission of the The Take Down ® Humanitarian Beauty Project is to bring the core issues of a woman's self-image to light and empower her to build a healthy sense of self-worth, recognizing that she is in control of her own destiny. We will continue to accomplish these initiatives by providing ongoing educational outreach programs for women and girls in "at risk" communities where there is significant need for leadership, but little opportunity to learn. We encourage women from all over the world to explore entrepreneurship and build their self-image.
Our core purpose is to maintain and preserve each person’s natural God given beauty through our brand product lines which include products for prevention of hair loss and damage; maintenance products for ethnic skin and hair care; and cosmetics for women of color. “If a person feels beautiful they are inspired to do anything, they have no limits. The boost in self esteem leads to greater confidence in oneself and abilities.”
Efforts over the last several decades to improve women's lives have produced new concepts and methods. With this knowledge we at Take Down ® Products will grow to become a bridge in providing beauty products, opportunity for entrepreneurship and beauty education to women. We will energetically expand our focus in international countries where they have difficulty importing ethnic beauty products.
In order to enhance the self esteem of women we will encourage them to consider a focus on creating an enterprise for their families in the beauty industry. Health and beauty products are provisions that are always going to be a necessity in our communities.
The Heifer Project in Little Rock, Arkansas, uses this same system. Internationally, they provide livestock- such as goats, and cows to the women in disadvantaged families, not just for nourishment but to create a source of income for their community.
Beatrice's Goat Fed A Dream
June 12, 2005When Beatrice comes home to Kisinga, she is immediately engulfed as if she were some long-lost African princess. (Photo: CBS)
Beatrice appeared on Oprah Winfrey's show in the fall of 2002.
© Heifer International
When we stop and think about the forces that have helped shape our lives, many of us can recall a loving parent or a caring teacher, or someone else who encouraged and inspired us and made us what we are today.
But how many of us can look back and say, "I owe it all to a goat"?
A young African woman by the name of Beatrice Biira can. If it weren’t for her goat, Beatrice wouldn’t have gone to school, wouldn’t have been lifted out of poverty, and wouldn’t have won a scholarship to a college in America.
There are lots of terrible stories coming out of Africa these days, stories about war and tyranny and starvation. This is not one of them. Correspondent Bob Simon reports.
On a sweltering June afternoon in Uganda, Beatrice, a 19-year-old African woman, comes home to the village of her birth and is immediately engulfed as if she were some long-lost African princess. She's been away for more than a year.
Beatrice’s village, which is called Kisinga, sits nestled in a valley in the western part of Uganda. When most people hear of Uganda, they immediately think of Idi Amin, the strongman who brutalized the country for nearly a decade.
Amin’s long gone, but Uganda, like most of Africa, is still plagued with problems. There are too many people, too few jobs, and not enough food.
Beatrice remembers being hungry as a child. "There wasn't much food in our fields. And if it was there, it was almost the same meal every other d
ay. Like you eat cassava or sweet potatoes in the afternoon and in the evening. And, I must say that we were hungry," she says.
And yet, despite going hungry and not having much hope for the future, she later found herself on the campus of an exclusive American prep school. Last year, she was a student at Northfield Mt. Hermon, in northern Massachusetts.
How did she get there? How did she manage to pull off such an improbable journey? 60 Minutes traveled a long way to find out.
The equator runs right across the country road that leads to Beatrice's home. You can stand in both hemispheres. Beatrice's life has become something like that in the last few years. She's had one foot in the African bush, and the other in New England -- all because of a goat.
"It is through selling the goat's milk that I was able to [go to school]," says Beatrice, who owes her good fortune to a goat and a charity in Little Rock, Ark., called Heifer International.
Beatrice Biira at the age of nine in Uganda.
Heifer International is known for its work distributing livestock to poor families all over the world.
In 1991, Heifer introduced 12 goats to 12 families in Kisinga. Beatrice’s family was lucky enough to be among them
(CBS) Along with the goats, Heifer sent a cameraman to Kisinga to shoot film of young Beatrice’s life. At 9, she was performing adult chores, and yearning desperately to attend school. But her family, one of the poorest in Kisinga, just couldn't afford it.
It seemed as though Beatrice would always be on the outside looking in. But she says she kept bugging her parents: "I was very impassioned. Want to go to school. I really wanted to go to school."
Enter her goat. The Heifer goats are bred to produce prodigious amounts of milk. After struggling for years just to feed her kids, Beatrice’s mother was able to sell enough goats’ milk to finally send Beatrice, then 10, to the local school.
From there, she won a scholarship to a high school in Kampala, Uganda’s capital. Then, she went on to prep school in New England, where it turns out, her biggest adjustment was winter.
"[It was] ridiculously cold. It was really cold. Like negative 30 degrees," recalls Beatrice. "And 20 inches of snow. That has never occurred to me in my life."
But seasons change, and for the first time in her life, Beatrice learned how to play tennis. She might never make it to Wimbledon, but she’s pretty smart and won an award for general excellence. Not bad for a kid who grew up with her parents and seven brothers and sisters in a tin-roofed shack in Africa, with an outhouse nearby.
Did the American kids have any idea where she was from? Or what kind of life she lived before going to school?
"No, they didn't know. Most of them actually look at me and maybe thought I was African-American. So, I started to tell them my story. I didn't tell all of it, but I told them I grew up in a very, very poor village. And, I'm trying to transition from that kind of life to this one," says Beatrice.
"They were very good. But most of them were amazed, really amazed at my story."
Beatrice took 60 Minutes to her old school, the one she couldn’t afford to attend until that goat came into her life. She says the school hasn’t changed much since she went there.
In fact, it looks as though it hasn’t changed in a century. There are hardly any books or pencils. And they still teach kids how to weave straw mats. It’s a skill that Beatrice is still pretty good at. But then again, she was a natural at everything in school.
She says it didn't take long for her to catch up with other kids her age. "I was very eager to go to school," recalls Beatrice. "Even when I got there, I made sure that I did extra work, extra homework, extra help, how to read, how to write. And I made it pretty quick."
Beatrice made it all the way to Connecticut College on a scholarship.
Having tasted the good life at prep school in America, Beatrice remains grateful, but not seduced. Despite her success in this country, she says she’ll never abandon Africa.
"There's so much poverty here. There's AIDS. There are so many wars. And you're in a position to escape it. Do you want to escape it," asks Simon. "To escape all the hardship of Africa?"
"I'm not trying to run away from all of these hardships," says Beatrice. "What I'm talking about is having the necessary things that you would need to live comfortably and survive. That's what matters to me."
In Beatrice’s world, goats are for sharing. You get a goat, and you share your goat’s offspring with one of your neighbors. It’s done in a ritual called “Passing on the Gift.”
60 Minutes witnessed that ritual in Kisinga. The descendants of Heifer’s original 12 goats were being passed from families lucky enough to have had them to other families in desperate need.
Once, Beatrice was on the receiving end of this charity, and she’s not about to forget it. What is her dream 10 years from now?
"I would love to see myself forming maybe a school for children who are disadvantaged," says Beatrice.
"Or maybe an orphanage, and maybe a farm with cows or goats, and giving those children milk. And I'd love to see them get healthier, all by my work."
With all the money donated to help fight famine around the world, with all the grandiose plans conceived to conquer poverty, sometimes all it takes to save a child is a goat. If you don’t believe that, come to Kisinga. -End.
Beatrice waves to family and friends during her graduation ceremony at Connecticut College in May 2008
O, The Oprah Magazine | From the April 2012 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
Oprah Winfrey has also created the Oprah WinfreyLeadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. The school will teach girls to be the best human beings they can be, training them to become decision makers and leaders. It is now well-documented that more enlightened gender policies and investments in women's education, beauty and health lead to higher human development and economic growth world wide.
According to Mary Kay Ash ............a company should run on 3 rules:
Put God first, family second and career third
Praise people to success
Work by the Golden Rule, treating others as you would like to be treated
Take Down® Beauty Entrepreneurship Curriculum Program
▀ Motivations, operations, perceptions and future plans
One obvious constraint is that school programs have few of the skills required by the business sector. In order to address this problem,
We can encourage the African Governments to introduce entrepreneurship skills to the school curriculum, in addition to the traditional classes held at the secondary school level. The idea will be to show young people from an early age the way to a productive future.
The next task is to set about getting the training halls in order and this proved to be a hands-on learning experience for countless young men and women, many of whom were considered displaced persons.
They will come from surrounding villages, on foot, on bicycles, the luckier ones by bus, and will soon discover that the skills acquired in manufacturing will enable them to gain an understanding of entrepreneurship and earn a livelihood for themselves and their families.
The Beauty Entrepreneurship Curriculum Program will aim at fostering an entrepreneurial attitude. Before involvement of prominent entrepreneurs who serve as role models, and practice in starting a business while they are still at school. The expansion of entrepreneurial human resources will form a national foundation for a growth oriented economic environment. Studies have revealed that even students acquired greater dignity and self esteem
and exhibited more of a self-help attitude and a better appreciation of community relations.
Students are shown that entrepreneurs create business, and that business generates employment, income and wealth. It will also represent an important step towards the reduction of poverty by producing a sufficient number of new entrepreneurs to build up a competitive private sector in Africa.
The scheme has already attracted a great deal of attention and many students who are not currently registered in the Take Down® Beauty Entrepreneurship Curriculum Program classes as well as others who have already left school have said they would like to join the classes.
To give the community a better appreciation of the program’s achievements we will attract students from other African Countries to enter the business world, students have a chance to learn the basic skills necessary to identify what people are interested in buying, how to turn opportunities into business and how best to manage enterprises in a competitive environment.
They are shown the importance of paying attention to the community as well as the natural environment. They also acquire the qualities of creativity, innovation, resourcefulness, planning and leadership that are the trademarks of successful entrepreneurs.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”
Nelson Mandela, Nobel Peace Laureate
Confident women enjoy experimenting with their looks, their environment and this boosts their morale plus relieves stress. With a little imagination and some consistent efforts Take Down ® Products can also bring positive changes in their appearance and personality.
If one goat can affect the lives of so many, it is without a doubt that we will be able to affect the lives of so many women with the excitement of beauty.
As a result of cultural differences such as this there is no question that the media plays a key role in developing our self-image. One of our goals is to use the media to provide positive messages about self-image to the broadest audience possible. Take Down ® Products will provide ongoing distribution of educational videos and documentary programs that fit into this category to non-profit organizations that lack the funds to purchase the works on their own. Take Down ® Products, will also identify additional topics worthy of media exposure and help seek funding and distribution for their production.
"Never bend your head, always hold it high. Look the world straight in the face." Helen Keller
Last Updated (Friday, 20 April 2012 13:39)