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Helping Women Progress Globally

Emilie Kimball is going to the coast for her summer vacation — the West African coast. Kimball, a rising junior at National Cathedral School from Potomac, will travel to Cape Coast, Ghana June 19 through July 1. Kimball’s trip is part of an internship with Women in Progress, a nonprofit run by Renae Adam and Kristin Johnson, both former volunteers with the U.S. Peace Corps.

“I’m so excited to help motivated women who want to help support their families,” Kimball said. “I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of new people and seeing how they live their lives over there.”

Last September, Women in Progress opened Global Mamas, a cooperative of 16 small businesses in Ghana that sells handmade clothing and apparel. With a store in Cape Coast, Global Mamas also sells its apparel through the Internet.

It is the technological aspect where Kimball hopes she can be the most help. In addition to the laptops she will bring, Kimball will also teach word processing and other basic computer skills to the women of Global Mamas. Before she leaves this Sunday, Kimball is collecting used laptops that area people are willing to donate (see above).

“If you have any leftover laptops … they can use them to go global,” Kimball said. “We’re hoping for as many as we can get.”

KIMBALL FIRST LEARNED about Women in Progress through Athena Maikish, a National Cathedral School teacher and Kimball’s former crew coach. Maikish will accompany Kimball to Ghana.

Kimball learned how to come up with different design schemes and how to market the products she created — all skills she hopes to share with Global Mamas. She also hopes to meet other students her age in Ghana, and would like to start a pen-pal program between the Ghanese students and the National Cathedral School’s international club that Kimball is part of.

This will be the first time Kimball has been to Africa, but she has already traveled to China, London and Australia. She went to China as a kindergartner, and she recalls being the center of attention there — or at least her blonde hair was. “Everyone would come up to me and want to take a picture or touch my hair,” she said.