First Step Initiative First Step Initiative

First Step Initiative fundraising for Grand Central Charities Inc

First Step Initiative helps women in the Congo build small businesses.


UPDATE: One of our long-time supporters has agreed to match donations up to $1,000. This means that your donations to First Step Initiative today will have double the impact!

Most people in the Congo live on 45¢ a day—giving to First Step Initiative helps women in the Congo earn enough so that their children can eat every day and they can afford to send them to school.

With business training and small loans from First Step Initiative, the women we help are able to build small businesses to support their families. Help support these women’s dreams of independence and self-sufficiency.


Our mission is to empower the world's poorest women to lift themselves and their families out of poverty with dignity through access to capital, information, and training.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, women are at the center of everything—their families, their communities, and day-to-day life. They are the carriers of the culture. Yet women in the Congo rarely have economic power or influence. First Step Initiative helps these women start and grow small businesses of their own.

Our program empowers women to earn their own money, build business skills, and hire others in the community. Through this process, they are able to claim their own power and gain the respect of the community.

For our First Step Initiative members, poverty means more than lack of money—poverty is rooted in lack of access to information and opportunities. In addition to the capital to start their businesses, we offer women the training, networks, and support needed to sustain their success.

The women in our program use the training and loans they receive to launch their own businesses. The types of businesses they choose varies greatly—some women sell food or handmade goods in the market, while others farm or provide health services for their communities.

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