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Issue 10 - October 2016 1

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to Aspire Foundation News What ’s inside ...

Welcome to the October issue of your Aspire Foundation News.

P5 - Chicago M.A.D. Leadership event.

P7 - London M.A.D. World Event

Gratitude is the name of the game this month. We want to say a huge thanks to all our Mentors and Mentees and all the M.A.D. work they’re doing. Turn to pages 14 - 16 to learn about some of the projects you’re involved in and the diversity of the work being undertaken to support and empower women.

Cassandra, whose project SELF was featured in last month’s newsletter, has been in touch to say thank you to all of you who’ve enquired about volunteering your support. If you haven’t been in touch yet and think you’d be able to support, click here to send her an email.

I really hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter. I’d love to know what you think! You can email me here.

Emma Aspire Newsletter Editor


P10 - Robert Silverstone and The Daily M.A.D. Leader

P12 - Lina Connect

P14 - Our Amazing M.A.D. Leaders!

P18 - Book Review - Jane Donaldson reviews Linda Cruse’s book Marmalade and Machine Guns

P20 - Rachel Chaikof and Mother of Hope Cameroon

Your Story Here!

Do you want to tell us about your experiences as part of The Aspire Foundation?

Are you working on a project you’d like us to feature?

Would you like to share something that your mentor or mentee has been working on that they’re too modest to tell us about themselves?

Why not drop our editor a line - editor@theaspirefoundation.org - and you might be featured in a future issue!


M.A.D Leadership Event - Chicago In September, M.A.D. Leaders got together in Chicago to learn how to advance their careers and change the world. It was a full two days (you can see the slides here), but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t time for a little fun! Click on the picture below to see just how much fun was had!

We’re looking forward to our London conference. You can find out more and sign up here:




M.A.D World Event London On 3rd October, we held a M.A.D. World Event in London. The focus was on career advancement whilst changing the world. Our Mentee, Sara Kandiah was there, here are her reflections on the event...



This was my first M.A.D. event since joining the Aspire Foundation as a new mentee.

The event was hosted in the heart of the city of London. There was a tangible buzz of anticipation as the place filled with the murmur of conversations between old and new acquaintances. The room was packed to standing room only, to me a testimony to just how many M.A.D people there are in London!

Dr Sam Collins spoke with authenticity, honesty and passion - you couldn’t help but be inspired by what she shared. We heard why it is important to focus on empowering women from a sustainability perspective and the positive link between career progression and integrating social responsibility. We received encouragement to get creative and build a vision board to help with future direction. Sam also shared her five top tips to be a M.A.D. leader.

It was an invaluable evening of learning, sharing with our neighbour and to be challenged by some of the tough global issues that are being tackled by the Aspire Foundation.


M.A.D World Event London During the networking time after the presentation it was great to connect with others and to hear how they have been putting some of these M.A.D. principles into action.

Listening to others share their “thinking big and starting small” stories was both inspiring and humbling. For me, I know there is something that I want to contribute to on a bigger scale and so I’m spending some time reflecting on these questions that Sam posed:

What am I good at? Who do I want to help? What difference do I want to make? I can’t wait for the London Leadership event in November!


Robert Silverstone

Robert Silverstone is the Director of the Aspire Foundation. He is an executive coach, author, speaker, husband of Dr. Sam Collins and proud father of their 3 young and M.A.D. children! Here he tells us about The Daily M.A.D Leader…

In 2005 I was experiencing some personal challenges and knew something had to change for me to feel a deeper sense of accomplishment and fulfilment in both my business and my life. At that time, I was studying various methodologies and approaches to coaching, including NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and EQ (Emotional Intelligence). As a result of my research, I became intensely aware of the power of my thoughts and words, as well as the importance of remembering who I really am - a spiritual being, having a human experience. Those two premises influenced me greatly and I started writing daily affirmations that identified a thought process and habit that I wanted to embed in my subconscious mind. Thoughts and patterns that I believed would serve me far better in the future than those held in the past.

Prior to that time, I had created, developed and taught a process for growth and change that I called The GROW Principle®. When I merged that 4-step process: Gratitude – Release – Openness – Willingness, into my daily affirmations I noticed how they flowed with even deeper intention and meaning. Having also developed a following with The GROW Principle®, I started sharing these daily affirmations by email in order for people to wake up with these messages in their inbox each morning. They were called The Daily GROW.

These messages were created to inspire, motivate and positively influence our daily lives. Over the years, they have evolved and developed into the next incarnation, entitled The Daily Conscious Leader. They were still following the flow of The GROW Principle® process, and designed more with business, work and leadership in mind.


The Daily M.A.D. Leader Then, in 2015, as my wife Samantha was developing M.A.D. Leadership to make a difference in the lives, work and world of Aspire attendees and The Aspire Foundation mentors and mentees, I changed the name one more time to The Daily M.A.D. Leader.

Here is an example of The Daily M.A.D. Leader:

Now in its 12th year, we have accumulated a library of more than 2500 unique, daily messages that continue to be shared with individuals and leaders all over the world.

If you would like to receive The Daily M.A.D. Leader by email each weekday, please click this link to sign up.


Lina Connect Lina Dyhr, Aspire Foundation Mentor, got in contact with us to discuss how she made her dream role as a dreamlauncher...

When I was 8 years old I wrote in my journal that I dreamed of exotic travel and lavish hotel living. I wanted to see amazing places across the globe and have extraordinary adventures. I hoped to live a good life, at a gentle pace with meaningful experiences and time to myself to be reflective, daydream and bring creative concepts to life.

I grew up, went to the prestigious Alliance Girls’ High School, earned a BSC degree in Computer Studies, an MBA and worked at a very fast-paced lifestyle for ten years. I was about to embark on a PHD when I had a wake up call and realized 3 key things: 1. I was living someone else’s life 2. I was meant for greater things 3. I was stuck in a vicious cycle I also fell seriously ill and had test after test, but doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Off the record, they said they thought it was likely to be stress. I stayed home pondering my fate, feeling too sick to work, and yet pretty soon I started feeling pressure to return to the office. 12

Lina Connect I tried different business ventures, not all were successful! I was, however, left with valuable experience and insight, and I became the “go to” person to help with business problems. That is when I started to crack the code.

So I started to investigate. I had to become really honest with myself and reflect on the patterns I had experienced through the years. And I came to some conclusions. I had been working hard, instead of working smart and doing what came naturally to me. I realized that my deepest desire was to empower people whose lives are at a crossroad. I wanted to coach, motivate and train ambitious people to achieve their dreams.

I created a job that doesn’t feel like work, but feels more like a joyful calling. A job that allowed me to quietly reflect. One that enabled me to use my incredible talent for creativity to craft innovative solutions that help individuals get to the next level and achieve extraordinary results beyond their perceived potential. The best news is that I can do my life’s work from anywhere and at a comfortable pace.

I am a dreamlauncher. I empower ambitious professionals and high-potential entrepreneurs to locate their genius and find their dream job or launch their ideal business…and with that I challenge them to craft their ideal life.

I created www.linaconnect.com to help me help others. If you want to create a high flying career or develop a thriving business, I can help you do that. Stop by www.linaconnect.com and sign up for free inspiring stories from entrepreneurs in Africa.


Our Amazing M.A.D. Mentors We wanted to say a huge “Thank You� to our Mentors. Not just for being making the mentoring program and our aim to positively impact one billion women by 2020 possible, but for all the M.A.D. projects and charities they’re involved in across the globe! Here is just a sample of the amazing work being done!

We provide digital solutions for doctors, benefiting women and girls.

We connect girls and planet to create global leaders through personal development.

We empower young women to overcome adversity and flourish in a fast changing world.

We serve vulnerable women and support their development.

Addressing the water, sanitation, and hygiene crisis in India from the UK.

We feed and educate poor and needy girls in Nakuru, Kenya.

We are on a mission to heal the pain of abuse and neglect in girls by providing foster care and permanent homes.

We work to protect wildlife and create a better world for women and girls.

We aim to harness science for the maximum benefit of women and girls in society.


We are a global movement that's fights for rights all over the world, inclusive of women's rights

We work with member countries across the world to bring green growth in the national planning agenda, benefiting women and girls.

We provide microfinance to the poor across Africa, benefiting women and girls.

We work specifically with women in the emergency services environment where there are high levels of stigma around mental health.

We run campaigns to promote women's rights and education in India where our projects empower, rescue and rehabilitate women and end violence.

We work to create a world where women are safe and respected and share shaping society equally with men.

Girls Driving For a Difference empowers girls to become leaders of social change.

We work with local YMCA partners to support livelihood and educational programs for women and girls across the world. 15

We provide training to graduate students & faculty women of color.

We are a helpline that helps young girls who are in need of care and protection.

We work for women and children all over the world, providing health, nutrition, education, good governance, and more.

We pioneer research to bring forward the day that all cancers are cured.

We advocate globally for farmers' interests in international policy processes affecting farmers, especially women and girls.

We work with vulnerable female migrants and provide services across four key areas: education/training, advice, wellbeing and campaigning.

We focus on girls to increase STEM engagement in Chicago's minority

We strongly encourage empowerment of women as next generation leaders.

We give young girls a productive and cultural activity to engage and learn during the summer school break.

We train teachers to work with girls with Autism.

We support young girls to participate and lead their own development, as well as that of their communities.

From: To:

The Aspire Foundation M.A.D. Leaders


You’re Amazing!

Thank you for all that you do to positively impact women and girls around the world.


Book Review Linda Cruse was one of our keynote speakers in Chicago. Jane Donaldson read her book, Marmalade and Machine Guns…

I had heard about Linda, and her incredible story of traveling the world. Linda travelled sixteen countries in twelve years with just one suitcase, showing up in the most dangerous and disaster stricken areas and working tirelessly to help and support those areas. I had expected to be inspired by her book, but I hadn’t expected it to be such a page turner!

Linda is engaging, brave, selfless and is full of energy and love. She is also an imaginative problem solver and a great connector. Linda takes us on a trip around the world, and tells stories - sometimes horrifying - with love and compassion, and turns heartache to hope. Linda brings opportunity and courage to people who have lost everything and sometimes everyone they loved. In the words of Sir Richard Branson "Linda makes the impossible possible”.

By living with the people who have survived unimaginable disasters, she is able to see what is really needed and communicate this to the people who have the resources to help to make a lasting and sustainable difference. Linda's book ends with the following quotes “ Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, you feed him for life” Lao Tzu. And from Mother Teresa “ We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love”. Linda Cruse is an inspiration and this is a book worth reading.



Rachel Chaikof Rachel Chaikof is an Aspire Foundation Mentee who is currently volunteering for the Peace Corps in Cameroon. She has kept a blog www.blog.rachelchaikof.com since 2010, documenting her personal interests, travel and work. Here she tells us about another one of our Mentee organisations, Mother of Hope Cameroon...

I met a strong and powerful advocate for women and girls, Adah Mbah, who is dedicated and passionate about working in human rights, women’s rights, sexual reproductive health, gender equality, gender based violence and youth development She is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization called Mother of Hope Cameroon (MOHCAM), which focuses on improving the lives of women and girls in Cameroon, especially when it comes to domestic violence and sexual reproductive health.

She is also a researcher and pursuing a second masters at the Institute of International Relationships Cameroon, where she is acquiring training in peace, gender and human rights. She holds a masters degree in Peace and International Relations from University of Dschange, a bachelor degree in history from University of Yaounde I, and also a diploma in 1st and 2nd grade (early childhood) education from ENS Bambili Annex and ENS Yaounde.

Because I want my American and foreign friends and family learn more about the situation of women and girls in Cameroon, I spent some time interviewing her as she has some eye-opening information to share.


Mother of Hope Cameroon

When and why did you start Mother of Hope? Mother of Hope Cameroon was created on 23 of March 2010 from a life experience of domestic violence, which I decided to share and also to improve on the lives of victims of domestic violence. As a victim of domestic violence, I went through physical, emotional, physiological and economic violence. So I decided to create Mother of Hope Cameroon to empower and educate women and girls victims in desperation.

My vision is to establish the first women and girls empowerment center for peace and security in Cameroon. Here women and girls will be educated on the laws, policies, leadership, how to propagate love, equality, peace, and justice. They will be able to build a support groups which will empower them economically, socially and politically. This will promote the culture of peace and violence extremism in homes, schools, and communities. This center will provide hope to the less fortunate, unprivileged, abused women and girls. The center will create and maintain an atmosphere where women will be able to obtain career orientations, political guidance, socially and economically support. The women and girls will become mentors for many others in their communities. This will help build resilience and sustainable communities.


Rachel Chaikof The fear factor will be minimized and women will be able to use the available resources to fight against all forms of marginalization, poverty, the lack of affordable health care delivery systems, drinking water and sanitation, gender-based violence such as sociocultural, socio-economic and social-political, HIV/AIDS, female genital mutilation and breast ironing. Access to education by women still remains a great challenge with the result that it deprives them of information and economic independence. More training on information communication technology will raise awareness and more women will have access to the internet through sensitization. My purpose is to pave the way for the scared and unsure women and girls in the communities and provide justice.

What does your organization do? We began working fully in 2013. In 2010-2012, we’re were engaged more in using the social media on the sensitization of gender based violence prevention in communities and schools in Bamenda. So in 2013, we started working and educating girls and women on sexual reproductive health rights, peace building, and justice. Also we started educating women on leadership skills and also on ending the stigma surrounding intimate partner violence. We started visiting many women groups and associations in Bamenda. Today, we have 20 women groups working with Mother of Hope Cameroon, and we’ve been able to talk to 400 women who have testified that it was important for us to talk to many other women and encourage them build creativity and leadership skills towards development.

Then we also have been educating women on human rights and also sexual reproductive health rights. Talking to women about family planning, the use of the female condom and contraceptives, sexual reproductive health and menstruation hygiene management, we realized that many women were using old clothes, towels and some unhygienic products during menstruation. So we decided to start up a campaign on sanitary pads in 2015. We started donating pads to girls in rural communities and schools. We educated them about their bodies and how to calculate their menstrual cycles.

They are also taught on puberty and sex education. This is to reduce the high rate of teenage pregnancies in rural communities and keep more girls at school. We also received donations of washable pads from partners and friends from abroad which we distributed to underprivileged women and girls in rural areas, schools, and also to girls living with disabilities. These donations are accompanied with underwear and bras for adolescent girls who are really desperate.


Mother of Hope Cameroon We now have a project to produce washable pads which will be able to provide training and skill building to thousands of underprivileged girls in desperation in rural communities and schools. This is an ongoing activity of the organization and we are establishing the sewing of washable pads and needs experts and partners to join her improve on the menstrual health of women and girls in Cameroon. You could donate more sanitary products to improve on the lives of underprivileged girls in schools. We also have an organizational Library to improve on the reading and writing skills of women and youths. Some of our friends and partners have also donated books and magazines for young girls to read about their body and also to improve on their language skills in schools.

Are the disposable pads expensive in Cameroon? Yes disposable pads are expensive for poor women and girls in Cameroon. But ironically most women and girls use other measures to manage their menstrual health rather than buy pads on monthly base because they are expensive and they wish to save money. We are discouraging the use of disposable pads also because of the high rate of environmental pollution which is another means of fighting climate change. We’re now looking for partners who will join us in the promotion of washable pad manufacturing in Cameroon. 22

Rachel Chaikof What do you do with peace building? On peace building, we’re actually advocating for the prevention of violence extremism, preaching on peace, tolerance, interfaith dialogue, reducing trauma, and also reconnecting families who have been affected by violence. We are also advocating for United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. The resolution reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. Resolution 1325 urges all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives. This is made possible through the collaboration with partner organizations like the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Cameroon.

MOHCAM is also propagating a culture of peace building by educating youths in schools through peace clubs on the Resolution 2250. This helps the youths to actively be engaged in shaping lasting peace and also contributes to justice and reconciliation processes.

What are examples of domestic violence women and girls face in Cameroon? Firstly, you have wife battery. You have incest and rape, breast ironing, parents neglecting their children financially. But wife battery is very high because most women don’t speak out for the fear of losing their marriages and again, the long court sessions. When you report cases, it takes a long time for the solutions for victims of violence. The ignorance of the laws and government policies is also a great hindrance for victims of domestic violence. So most victims’ domestic violence don’t report for intervention which tells from the lack of accurate statistics. Most of the women victims search for other solutions in churches for consolation.

MOHCAM also helps in seeking justice with help of legal advice to establish case files for women victims and their perpetuators taken to court. When women come here, we invite a lawyer who advises on what should be done. We’re working in collaboration with Ministry of Women Empowerment and the Family, Ministry of Youth Affairs and the Ministry of Social Affairs. We also provide counseling sessions and also pre-violence prevention sessions. We work in schools and in human rights, gender and peace clubs which we have created in ten secondary schools in the North West Region.


Mother of Hope Cameroon Give me examples of how girls or women’s lives have been changed positive because of the organization. MOHCAM has been able to educate five hundred girls in secondary schools and rural communities on menstrual hygiene management. MOHCAM has been able to convinced 5 community leaders and counsellors to set laws preventing early and forced marriage of teenage girls. MOHCAM convinced 100 mothers to send their daughters to school in fighting child trafficking. MOHCAM has also been to train 20 women leaders of women groups and associations in Bamenda on leadership skills and entrepreneurship and sexual reproductive health rights. MOHCAM established 10 gender, peace and human rights clubs in 10 secondary schools in the North West Region. MOHCAM has donated menstruation kites to 350 girls in rural communities and girls living with disabilities. MOHCAM has been able to establish three community farms for the production of vegetables to help women and girls to improve on their nutrition and fight against poverty. MOHCAM has given financial support to 20 girls in secondary schools for tuition and also for books. MOHCAM has been able to provide rents, school fees and books a student of management at the University of Bamenda who is a victim of domestic violence.

What are the biggest challenges women and girls face when having a period? The accessibility of pads. They don’t have it. They don’t have much health education on menstruation which leads to the high rate of teenage pregnancy in schools. We’ve found out that in girls Widikum subdivision that stay away from school because of menstruation. When they get their periods, they don’t go to school. That is the plight of millions of girls in rural communities. You can only find pads on market days or in the big squares in the villages. There are absolutely no sanitary pads available in schools and rural communities. This can also be explained by the bad roads leading to these villages. This makes it difficult to have a ready supply of pads in the rural communities. Statistics which we found from the field portrays that 90% of women and girls do not use sanitary pads. They use old dresses, foams, towels and other methods to handle their menstrual heath and sanitation. Those old things affect their lives as they are often contaminated and prone to infections. The best solutions for menstrual heath and sanitation for women and girls in rural communities and in Cameroon are washable pads.

Click here to learn more about Mother of Hope Cameroon.


Aspire Foundation Community Event

Join us on Tuesday 18th October for our next Aspire Foundation Community Event. We will be looking at:       

How to establish a connection quickly and set the stage for a mentoring relationship. Building mutual respect and trust that encourages the mentee to become more aware and to take risks. Top tips for what to do before the first session as a mentor or mentee. How to 'co-design' your mentoring relationship together. Defining a 'Big A and Little A' agenda and clear goals as a team. How to redesign a mentoring partnership when things aren't working well or to further improve results. Top tips for building the mentoring partnership by phone.

Plus….an opportunity for your questions at the end of the session.

You can find out more and sign up here.


Thank you is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding. Alice Walker


Looking for past issues? You can find them all on-line here‌


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Aspire Foundation October 2016  

This month's magazine is all about saying "Thank You" to our Mentors and Mentees for all the M.A.D. work they do!

Aspire Foundation October 2016  

This month's magazine is all about saying "Thank You" to our Mentors and Mentees for all the M.A.D. work they do!


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