In August, Love Mercy Foundation had the absolute honor of being selected as 1 of only 9 finalists in Project Inspire’s “5 minutes to change the world” contest. This contest is run by the United Nations Women’s organisation in Singapore, and to be amongst such incredible company was a dream come true for us… our little ole project, right up there with the world’s best… who’d have thought!
Anyway, Eloise and myself weren’t able to attend the finals in Singapore as we were in Uganda, however we sent our very able representative Rachel in our stead. Rachel did much of the research the contributed to Cents for Seed’s success, so who better to send than her!
Here are some updates from her on her trip:
Singapore is a beautiful city—basically an Asian Dubai—that is addicted to gargantuan shopping malls, global commerce, and air conditioning. Brrrr! It’s much too sterile for me to ever live there, but it was a nice Western vacation from my simple life in India. I even started laughing when I crawled into bed; it was SO comfortable!
Everyone loves Love Mercy’s story, as I was able to tell it twice over the course of the week. A few people want to do interviews with and magazine articles on Eloise and Caitlin and the organization. I was flat-out honored to be able to represent LMF at the UN Women Project Inspire finals.
The competition and events leading up to it was an amazing test of my confidence, as I was a panel speaker for a group of university students (I’m an expert at something?!), gave my globally broadcasted-live presentation in front of a panel of seven big wigs, and sat in workshops from pretty well known individuals and companies. Did I feel fit for the job? Nope, but I put those shoes on and walked around in them quite well. I networked a bit with the development professionals there, and I have some leads for jobs, if I don’t open my own business first—an arts-based community program? Orphanage? Love Mercy India? We’ll see.
The other contestants—from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Australia—were amazing human beings who inspired the socks off me. We laughed, supported each other throughout the competition, and all went home friends. Many have started their own companies and NGOs, so that got my mental juices flowing. I left Singapore with a head more full of dreams and determined to make a difference than ever.
We didn’t win much to my disappointment, but the presentation went extremely well; I had many people come up to me and tell me how much they loved the project, my presentation. Everyone loved Love Mercy’s unique microfinance idea, but the winner, Rustam, had an excellent presentation as well as a solid, already well-established social enterprise. We were amongst amazing human beings, and everyone left more inspired than when they arrived!
|Rachel, back center