Alaina Podmorow has just returned from a whirlwind four-day media blitz in Toronto after being named Canada’s Top Teen Philanthropist in Mackenzie Investments’ fourth annual national search.
Podmorow, 15, is the founder of Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan and was in Toronto to receive a $5,000 grant prize for Little Women in honour of the win.
Podmorow also personally received a $2,500 Registered Education Savings Plan contribution.
Little Women has raised $375,000 since Podmorow launched it in the fall of 2006. Donations have been a mix of local fundraising events, corporate donations and grants.
People and organizations from across North America have supported Little Women and 100 per cent of the funds raised go to projects on the ground in Afghanistan, focusing on the education of women and girls in the country.
Right now Podmorow is raising funds for the next Little Women project and the Mackenzie Investments award is a big piece of the goal. “We are initiating a library in a tiny village in Northern Afghanistan,” explains Podmorow.
Including the Mackenzie Investments prize money, Little Women has accumulated $15,000 of the $25,000 necessary for the project.
Focusing on larger prizes available from corporations and foundations is a key part of Little Women’s success and Podmorow is working, with the help of two friends, on the next entry for the Millennium Development Challenge. A prize money win would bring Little Women within reach of starting the library.
Podmorow began Little Women in Lake Country surrounded by her classmates and has watched the organization grow from there. There are chapters in other locations now, but she keeps working on local fundraising events.
Podmorow’s mother, Jamie has been instrumental in helping her with the administration of the not-for-profit organization, but with Podmorow’s recent 15th birthday the administrative details are being taken up by her classmates at Aberdeen Hall.
Podmorow switched schools to attend Aberdeen Hall as the private school was able to accommodate her busy speaking schedule that can see her travel to destinations across Canada two or three times a month. She’s looking at the possibility of a future trip to Afghanistan, but that is highly dependent on the security situation in that troubled nation.
Despite the incredible demands on her time Podmorow has her sights set on completing the library project. “We’ll continue working hard for the library. The village where it will be located is really affected by winter and no one really has an education.
The money for the project includes employees to teach literacy.”