Who We Are
Together to Empower was founded in 2015 by high school student, Michelle Qin. Aft​​​​​er her friend returned from a mission trip to La Antigua (Guatemala’s largest dump city) and showed her pictures of girls living in shocking, impoverished conditions, she knew she needed to help. As her cause gained more attention, Michelle created a club at her high school to further spread involvement among teenagers. Today, our organization is an officially registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, with branches in California, USA and Vancouver, Canada.   
   

California - Headquarter
(2015-Present)

Vancouver Branch
(2016-Present)

New Jersey Branch
(2017-Present)

What We Do
     We want to create a united world where everyone is treated equally, regardless of differences. We hope to accomplish this by empowering girls to strive for their dream careers in STEAM and other fields, supporting girls in underdeveloped areas through sponsoring their enrollment in educational programs, spreading awareness of our cause, providing essential supplies, and more.

In both chapters, we work towards the same goal by organizing a variety of fundraisers, preparing local events, proposing outreaches, and much more.  Our teams keep in touch through quarterly Skype meetings.

We are a movement comprised of girls and boys. Although our main goal is to empower girls, it is  equally important to us to emphasize that we all have the power to make a change. After all, our world will only get stronger with girls and boys in the lead, together.
That's why we are called Together to Empower. 



   

Our Mission

In many countries, there are numerous barriers preventing females from achieving their dreams. As such, our events and projects tackle a variety of aspects so that we can make a holistic, realistic difference for girls and women, rather than a singular effect. The topics below are some of the main areas that we work towards. 

What is Empowerment?

The empowerment of women represents the improvement of social, economic, and political rights to allow women to make independent decisions. Empowered women are able to have "equal social status in the society", "determine financial and economic choices", and "live their life with a sense of self-worth, respect, and dignity" (ImportantIndia). Together to Empower recognizes the importance of women's empowerment, as a way to reduce corruption, fight poverty, and benefit the economy of a society. The goal of our organization is to endorse NGOs that support specific aspects of women's empowerment in developing areas and promote an awareness of women's rights issues around the world.

Education & Literacy 

Women and girls comprise half of the world's population and make up 70% of the population in poverty, yet almost 500,000,000 women around the world are illiterate (TheGuardian). In order from the whole global community to benefit from a higher quality of education, women must also have access to education. However, millions of girls are denied access to even the most basic primary education. It is extremely important to recognize that girls' education has a large impact on a society as a whole. Girls who are educated are less likely to marry early, die from childbirth, and be unemployed. With an educational background, women are more capable of nurturing their children to be healthy and also well-educated. Educated women are capable of reducing the obstacles that prevent them from exercising their fundamental rights, protecting themselves from domestic violence, poverty, and early marriage and pregnancy (UNESCO).


Science, Technology, Math, Engineering (STEM)

Technology is changing our lives. As scientists, mathematicians, and engineers advance and lead our rapidly growing world, it is crucial that we have an equal representation and perspective from females and males. Yet, there continues to be heavy prejudices against women in Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering (STEM) fields in particular, which are pre-dominately male. While many scientific researchers have proven this fact, many girls at schools and clubs experience this on a daily basis - girls are not encouraged to pursue STEM careers, and are misrepresented in related professions. In fact, as a student in the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy, Michelle (Founder)'s experience in feeling alienated in class was one of the motivating factors for her to found this organization. This issue holds so much importance because we cannot even begin to innovate for our future societies when we only have one gender, one mindset in the lead. These innovations are rapidly changing our world, and we deserve-we need- to have the female's perspective.

Together to Empower is working towards organizing STEM-related events to encourage young girls to advance interest in STEM. 

Exploitation

The sexual exploitation of women and girls includes issues such as sex trafficking and female genital mutilation. Sex trafficking is defined as the use of "force, fraud or coercion to cause a commercial sex act" with an adult or minor; a commercial sex act is any form of "prostitution, pornograhy and sexual performance done in exchange for any item of value" (SharedHope).  Sex trafficking is a critical global issue, affecting more than 20 million people in both developed and developing countries. Women and girls, however, make up 98% of victims of sex trafficking (EqualityNow). Not only do victims suffer from sexually transmitted diseases (HIV/AIDS), but they also experience many severe physical and mental damages.

"They forced me to sleep with as many as 50 customers a day. I had to give [the pimp] all my money. If I did not [earn a set amount] they punished me by removing my clothes and beating me with a stick until I fainted, electrocuting me, cutting me."
-Kolab, sex trafficking survivor from Cambodia (EqualityNow)

Another prominent issue involving sexual exploitation is female genital mutilation (FGM), a procedure that "intentionally alter[s] or cause[s] injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons" (WHO). This practice is extremely common in developing countries in Africa, including Sudan, Somalia, and Guinea. The World Health organization estimates that over 3 million young women undergo the FGM procedure every year. This long-held practice has been continued mainly for psychosexual reasons, to control a woman's sexuality and ensure virginity before marriage (UNFPA). However, severe consequences can arise from this procedure psychological stress, childbirth complications, urinary infections, menstrual problems and other medical complications.


Safe Health Practices

In order to prevent sex trafficking, a holistic approach needs to be established; one aspect of this approach is the promotion of safe health practices at a local-level. Together to Empower hopes to initiate campaigns that can raise awareness of contraceptives and encourage women to feel comfortable about their sexuality.

Youth Leadership

Together to Empower hopes to provide opportunities for youth to develop leadership skills, while also promoting a strong understanding of women's rights issues. Our youth-run organization is comprised of a community of high school students at the executive board level and active student volunteers. With a volunteer rewarding system, we encourage students to take greater initiative in our events and programs to experience valuable leadership roles.


Microfinancing

The economic empowerment of women has been known to also produce a ripple effect in the community. Through micro financing initiatives, women are encouraged to take loans and invest money to start their own businesses. By establishing a steady income, they are able to make decisions for themselves and their children in order to alleviate poverty. Microfinancing can also establish strong social connections between women, who are usually limited to the household. Women entrepreneurs who have financial independence are able to communicate and interact with a larger community of women, leading to further empowerment (Forbes). Microfinancing, by providing financial services to marginalized women, promotes gender equality, improves household conditions, and also enriches a network of independent women in the society.