TechCrunch: Samahope to Help Fund Medical Treatments for Women in Need around the World

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 9.28.19 AMI was honored to feature Samahope’s work to help women in need of medical care around the world in TechCrunch.

This Sunday, there’s a lot you can do in honor of the woman who raised you. There’s TheMomtract, a project out of the ad agency Mother New York to give your mother authority back over some part of your life. There are flowers and promises to let fewer of her calls go to voicemail.

But the San Francisco-based startup Samahope hopes that funds usually reserved for cross-state chocolate delivery might be used to finance medical treatments for women in need around the world. Its #HonorYourMom project is soliciting donations for medical treatments for women along with tweet-length anecdotes about participants’ own parents’ uniqueness. And while funding fistula repair surgery may not have been part of some users’ plans this year, the non-profit organization’s founders hope that providing safe birth kits in a mom’s name won’t take much convincing. more

New Lydali Worldly Wares

LydaliFor her birthday I just gave my Mom a handmade bowl from the SF-based e-retailer company Lydali. Like the other gifts I’ve bought on the site, it went over (very) well, in part because each item on the site features a story about the artisans who made it.

The online store, which “brings together well-designed jewelry, accessories, and home furnishings from around the world,” sources from 21 countries. It was launched eight months ago by Ali Price and Lydia Harter (whose combined names gave the company its moniker), two friends who met at Wake Forest before working at and Pottery Barn, respectively.

I’m especially struck by a colorblock clutch from Rags2Riches out of Manila, a blue agate ring from Joya in Cape Town, and a handblown olive glass pitcher out of Jordan. Any of which would be much appreciated this week o’ love, of course.

TechCrunch >> NewlyWish Looks to Disrupt $19 Billion Annual Wedding Registry Industry

In a world of customizable coffees and individualized experiences, the wedding industry is just recently starting to break from its historical lack of options. Pre-nuptials, many couples still face lists of venue-required caterers and fight their way past other undesirable prescriptions for their big days. Enter NewlyWish, a New York-based e-commerce platform that seeks to provide creative registry options beyond big-box retailers.

With its first product for couples, the newly minted winner of the Women 2.0 PITCH NYC Startup Competition provides a custom multi-merchant online marketplace. Users can choose from and register for goods at brick-and-mortar stores, which have historically been excluded from the $19 billion annual domestic wedding registry market.

Read this post in its entirety on TC.

Lovely with a Giving Streak

At the Styling Change show at the Mission portrait gallery Photobooth this weekend, the new company Cuyana stood out with its fetching Peruvian Alpaca wares and emphasis on generosity. Based in the Bay, Ecuadorian designer Karla Gallardo’s eco brand sells oversized vests and hats whose sale includes a 10% donation to charity:water. The “e-bazaar that gives back” will be traveling to Jaipur, India, next for inspiration and artisan partnerships (the result of which will no doubt be beautiful).

Culture Kitchen Offerings Expand–Deliciously–to Mailboxes

When Culture Kitchen co-founder Abby Sturges explained that “cooking is a form of love and sharing,” I realized what I’ll be (belatedly) gifting friends for the day ‘o love. Between shipping packages of ingredients and recipes, she explained how the SF-based startup is looking to spread culture and cooking skills through food. Sturges and fellow designer Jennifer Lopez initially set out to offer in-person cooking classes between master cooks looking to support their families and customers eager to make their own tasty ethnic meals. To more widely translate the class experience of making, say, Green Gourd Stir Fry (Bí Xào Với Trứng), the pair now sells “culinary explorer packages” to a customer base beyond the seven by seven. If you’ve ever been frustrated by the run around required to get the necessary ingredients for a new dish (or shied away completely, as I have), the monthly subscription box could be just what the appetite ordered.

V-Day Launches One Billion Rising; Eve Ensler to Speak at Stanford

On Valentine’s Day (reclaimed as “V-Day” by the anti-violence organization of the same name), playwright Eve Ensler has launched One Billion Rising, a global effort to get one billion people around the world to rise and dance one year from today in defiance of abusive acts against women and girls. In considering statistics that one billion or more women on the planet will be beaten or raped in her lifetime, the organization has issued a call to women and the people who love them to strike (and, in Eve’s words, “be less behaved about the whole thing”) on 2.14.13.

My personal countdown to One Billion Rising has begun, and expect to see information on where and when we’ll be dancing in San Francisco. In the meantime, you can see Ensler speak at Stanford on February 23 as part of the university’s V-Week.

Exhibit on Global Motherhood Opens its Digital Doors

Today the web-based International Museum of Women launches MAMA: Motherhood Around the Globe, an online exhibition that I could hardly be more excited about. It will combine art, video documentary, and storytelling to explore the aspirations of a dynamic set of women (including but not limited to working mothers in China, the First Ladies of Africa, and surrogate mothers in India). Other topics including work, identity, advocacy, and modern fatherhood will be spotlighted throughout this year.

Novelist Aminatta Forna said it well when she explained that “to me there is no more pressing concern today than maternal health, and the global failure to save women’s lives is a human rights disaster. The IMOW’s timely exhibition highlights both the wonders and the terrible tragedy which motherhood can be.”

Christy Turlington Burns’ organization Every Mother Counts is partnering on the exhibit, but the body of community work is by no means intended only for new mothers. Instead, it’s created to be a resource for anyone who cares about mothers and children, who’s concerned about the health and leadership of women globally, who has a child, or who has been a child.

Technovation Challenge Calls for Bay Area Speakers, Coaches, Mentors + Other Smarties

At the Designer Fund’s well-attended Women in Design forum recently, I was glad to get to hear stories from teen girls who participated in Iridescent Learning’s mobile app creation program. I had previously written about the group’s hands on development work (the program also gets young gals to pitch their ideas and prototypes to investors), but hearing from the high schoolers themselves about their gains was nothing if not inspiring. In advance of the upcoming class this winter and spring, Iridescent is taking applications for mentors, teaching assistants and speakers–people passionate about technology who want to work with schools, companies, and smart kids. Consider it, won’t you?

TeachAIDS Talks Knowledge, Expands to Botswana

This week was a big one for TeachAIDS, the Palo Alto-based non-profit that creates HIV prevention software that’s being used in more than 50 countries. On World AIDS Day it launched educational animations with characters and content specific to Botswana as founder Piya Sorcar (pictured left, with Lisa Ling) talked at TEDxWomen about the differences between awareness (knowing that the disease exists and kills) and knowledge (understanding ways to keep yourself from becoming infected). The organization has succeeded–and been culturally sensitive while doing so–where many large-scale campaigns haven’t: helping people get smart about their own health. Sorcar’s recent talk is well worth a look, and you’ll see why the work has received San Francisco AIDS Foundation kudos.

TEDxWomen: Learning & Instilling Resilience at an Early Age

At TEDxWomen at the Paley Center in LA this morning I was wowed–no easy feat for a presenter following a very early AM flight–by a presentation between 13-year-old Claire Sannini and Rachel Simmons about encouraging confidence in girls. (An audacious and important concept with cyberbullying, suicides, and teen pregnancy as rampant as they are.) The two talked about the Girls Leadership Institute, an organization Simmons co-founded to help girls discover their true and strong selves.

“[Our society] tells girls that they can be intelligent, but shouldn’t make others feel intimidated by their smarts,” Simmons said. “Yes, you can be active, but you better be sexy and skinny while you do it.” These messages don’t just impact girls social lives–they affect assertion and earnings in the workplace later in life.

Simmons stresses the importance of women helping girls strengthen their “inner resumes,” and Claire’s eloquence after participating in the teen leadership work is captivating. You can see their great collaborative talk in its entirety here. And while you’re at it, don’t dare miss V-Girl Busisiwe Mkhumbuzi’s reflections on raising girl consciousness and activism in South Africa.