A mission for women

iZōsh® is an organization of women dedicated to the economic empowerment of women globally who are living in extreme poverty. By giving micro-loans to these women, we help them to lift themselves out of extreme poverty and reduce the risk of oppression and exploitation in their lives.

iZōsh meetings are intergenerational gatherings open to women of all ages, faiths and beliefs. You can commit to becoming a member by clicking here and filling out a membership form.

We connect around tables with great snacks, informal conversation, and many opportunities to participate in the night’s activities. Together we learn as we hear from expert speakers on issues that women living in extreme poverty encounter. Next, we give to chosen loan recipients during rounds of voting and then loans are funded in real time at the Event. Finally, we… celebrate! Though the Event is filled with reflective and somber moments, you will hear cheers, clapping, and see creativity fueled by the joy of empowering women.

We gather twice a year – in the spring and the fall for our Events.

On Friday, November 20, 45 women from across the country gathered via Zoom to learn, give, and celebrate the joy of empowering women. Through the compassion and generosity of our iZōsh Birmingham members and guests, we were able to grant $6,950 in micro-loans to 28 women who graduated from the Healing Hands of Joy Safe Motherhood Ambassador Program this year, bringing our chapter total to $20,292 of micro-loans to 76 women!

Our keynote speaker was Allison Shigo, CEO and co- Founder of Healing Hands of Joy.  She educated us on the plight of women living with obstetric fistula in Ethiopia. The work she is doing at Healing Hands of Joy through the Safe Motherhood Ambassador program is truly inspiring. She discussed the impact COVID-19 has had on the women in Ethiopia and how a $250 micro-loan will change the course of these women’s lives.

Through her travels to Ethiopia working on the Emmy Award winning documentary, A Walk to Beautiful, a film following the lives of five Ethiopian women who have suffered from obstetric fistula, Allison witnessed firsthand the need for an organization that works with the Ethiopian community to ensure all women suffering from obstetric fistula are reintegrated into their communities, receive psychological care, education, support and the means to be productive post-surgery. In 2009, she co-founded Healing Hands of Joy, a non-profit dedicated to serving the needs of women with obstetric fistula and currently serves as CEO. Working with a team of Ethiopian advisors and staff, Allison developed the Healing Hands of Joy program and Safe Motherhood Ambassador Training pilot project to transform and improve the lives of former fistula patients. Her vision is to see the Safe Motherhood Ambassador Training program change fistula patient’s lives around the world and prevent more women from suffering needlessly.  

There are always more women graduating from the Safe Motherhood Ambassador program so if you are interested in supporting future Ambassadors, or possibly some of the women we were unable to fund tonight, you can visit the Healing Hands of Joy website at https://healinghandsofjoy.org/  and make a direct donation at any time! At the bottom of the donate page when you process your donation there is a “comments or additional instructions” box where you can add the name “iZosh.” If you do this, Healing Hands of Joy will be able to report back to us an updated number of loans funded from any direct donations made which we will be sure to share with all of you! As of 11/21/2020 we already know another $250 has been donated which means 29.8 of the 31 women seeking loans at this point have been fully funded by iZōsh Birmingham.

If you were unable to join us, but are interested in watching last night’s Event, you can click here to watch the recording.

Be on the lookout for details about our next Event in Spring 2021!  

Email izosh.birmingham@gmail.com with questions!

Many women in extreme poverty live in areas where banks are not available or will not lend to the poor. A small loan allows her to establish a business, transforming her family’s lives with a “hand up” rather than a “hand out.” When she repays her loan, the money gets re-invested in a new loan so the cycle of supporting women continues.


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