Join Modify in Celebrating International Women’s Day!

Mother teresa quote

Happy International Women’s Day! Since the early 1900’s, March 8th has been the day selected to honor women around the world with celebrations ranging from showing general respect, appreciation, and love towards women to recognizing and honoring women’s economic, political, and social achievements. What better way to celebrate this day then to recognize one of the many great women in the ModiFamily!

A few months ago Teresa Scherle, a customer of Modify, needed a replacement for her beloved “Mable” (we love that she named her Mod!). We sent her a replacement and it was delayed, so we sent her another. She ended up receiving one of the replacements on her birthday, and the 2nd replacement on Valentine’s Day. What timing! Teresa was so excited; she decided to re-gift the 2nd replacement to her favorite organization’s silent auction coming up this month.

The organization, Western Heads East, established Probiotic Yogurt kitchens in Mwanza, Tanzania, Kenya and Rawanda. So far they have opened ten kitchens that produce a special yogurt that fortifies the health of women and their families who are affected by AIDS. The kitchens are run by different women’s groups that now have an income and a respectable position in the community.

What a perfect example of how women can use their skills and resources to help support and better the lives of others around the world. In Teresa’s words, here is more information on how this great cause got started:

Western Heads East 1In 2004, The University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario Canada hosted an annual housing conference where representatives from almost every major university and college in Ontario attended. At that conference Stephen Lewis, Special United Nations Envoy to Africa presented a compelling talk on the AIDS epidemic in Africa. He challenged each institution to do something to make a difference regarding the situation in Africa.

This raised a red flag in our housing department and with other staff we established Western Heads East, Western’s Community Response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. Together with our partners in various departments and faculties and Africa we negotiated through a maze of procedures, the science of probiotic yoghurt which is made at Western, government officials etc. At times I thought, “Let’s just raise some money and donate it to the Stephen Lewis Foundation already established in Africa”, but due to Bob Gough, now director of the project, we persevered and about a year later we were up and running in Mwanza, Tanzania. 

My job was to work with the accounts department to set up the bookkeeping part of the projectWestern Heads East 2 and with others in our initial group to get the whole project up and running. In 2006 we were thrilled to be presented by the university “The Western Award of Excellence”.

Since then the project has won many awards including a humanitarian award to Bob presented in our capital, Ottawa. I am so proud to be a part of establishing this project and since my retirement from the university in 2004, I have remained in touch with project and more recently travelled to Mwanza to see firsthand the project and meet the Yoghurt Mommas who run the 10 yoghurt kitchens in Mwanza, Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda. Since then too, we have helped establish the “African National Probiotic Network” where groups from different countries in Africa share information on probiotic yoghurt.

Western Heads East 3We now send interns to monitor the yogurt production and do studies but it is mainly run by the community of networked kitchens. They have established the African Probiotic Yogurt Network and continue to provide lifesaving yogurt to their community. I am proud to have been a part of this endeavor and saw first-hand this past November how successful our efforts have become.

Each year we have our main fundraising “Market” at the university to raise funds, and part of that is a silent auction. I will put the Modify Watch in the auction along with your card. Thanks again for being the best company in North America. I will continue to follow you on facebook and let the world know just how wonderful you are. Asante sana rafiki (thank you very much) ~Teresa

Another very influencial women, Mother Teresa once said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” @Teresa Scherle – thank you for the work you and your team are doing to share love and service around the world, and for sharing this great story with all of us at Modify!

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