It is that time again when the Foundation is actively recruiting mentees and mentors for our Mentoring Programme. As Cherie explains in the Mail on Sunday, when she left Downing Street, she wanted to use the internet to connect women in a meaningful way. This was the seed for what is now our Mentoring Programme which connects online mentors with women entrepreneurs in developing and emerging markets.
The internet has become a modern day convenience for many of us around the world. We access it on our phones and with free wifi available in so many locations, it does not have to be costly. But as Cherie explains in the article, to many women in developing countries, the internet is much more than a convenience. “It is a crucial lifeline which can mean the difference between success and failure.” Access to the internet opens doors. It can provide a way for women to access life-changing information and connections.
The women entrepreneurs who sign up to be mentored through the Cherie Blair Foundation are bright and ambitious. They are either already running businesses or about to set up a business. To have come that far is an achievement in itself. But the women we work with face various challenges. Some face cultural barriers. Others have difficulty accessing capital. Other women lack the management skills needed to expand their businesses in a sustainable way. And most of the women in our programme must deal with all of these challenges, whilst carrying out their household duties and looking after the children. It can be a lonely experience.
Connecting to a mentor can change everything. Being a mentor only takes up 2 hours of your time each month but the impact is far reaching. We have reached nearly 1,000 women in more than 50 countries through online mentoring. They then become role models in their communities and pass on the benefits that they get from the programme to their families and to other women entrepreneurs.
As Cherie put it, “The internet is more than just gadgets. We can use it to stretch out a hand across the virtual world to help some really great women improve their lives and the lives of those around them.”
For more on becoming a Cherie Blair Foundation mentor: cherieblairfoundation.org/mentoring