UPDATE: We’ve just gotten word from Lisa Shannon that Women for Women International has received 6,200 new sponsors and raised over $2.2 million for women in Congo since the show aired yesterday afternoon. Now that’s what you call The Oprah Effect!
Lisa Shannon, founder of Run for Congo Women and a close partner of RAISE Hope for Congo, appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” yesterday. Three years ago, inspired by an episode of Oprah featuring Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International, Shannon decided to start Run for Congo Women. She was moved by.the episode and immediately sponsored two women through Women for Women, but she felt that she had to do more. Run for Congo Women has now raised enough money to sponsor more than 1,000 women through pledges to people taking part in running events.
Yesterday’s show highlighted Shannon’s 2007 and 2008 trips to eastern Congo’s South Kivu province where she met many of the women she had sponsored. For the first time, Shannon and the Congolese women were able to sit next to each other while reading the letters they had sent to each other. The Congolese women had been so moved by Lisa’s efforts to help them that one woman even named her newborn child after Lisa. Oprah commented, “just a small sum of money and simple letters transformed the lives of all these women.” Lisa recently finished writing A Thousand Sisters, the soon-to-be-released book detailing her experience in Congo.
Oprah also featured Nicholas Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn who discussed their new book Half the Sky, an impassioned call to action to end brutality against women.
Clips of yesterday’s show are available to watch here.