Words: Mandie Gower and Anna Murdova
Drum roll please! After three months of sifting through some truly incredible applications for this year’s Prix Clarins in association with Stylist, we’re delighted to announce the shortlist.
Established to recognise the UK’s most inspiring female charity pioneer, and reward her non-profit endeavour with a £30,000 investment, our search drew applications from a phenomenally varied and innovative range of initiatives, all improving life for the younger generation. “Our objective is as clear as it was when we originally created this award 20 years ago in France,” say Christian and Olivier Courtin-Clarins, “and that is to honour women who are making a difference to the next generation and beyond. We want to inspire many more women around the world to continue this work today to help change the futures of tomorrow”.
The shortlisted five now face individual interviews with our judging panel; Stylist acting editor Susan Riley; Clarins public relations director Shoshana Gillis; documentary maker and author Cherry Healey; and Stylist columnist Lucy Mangan.
As well as the £30,000 prize money, our ultimate winner will also receive a bespoke mentoring programme from Clarins and Stylist experts, designed to help her charity reach its full potential, as well as being celebrated in a feature in the magazine.
“The calibre of entrants was incredibly high,” says Susan Riley, “and it was quite overwhelming trying to choose between so many amazing causes and smart initiatives. Every one who entered deserves recognition for thinking outside the box and achieving so much already – often with so little.”
CHARLY YOUNG AND BECCA DEAN
THE GIRLS NETWORK
Secondary school teachers Charly and Rebecca started their charity work back in 2013. They wanted to help teenage girls from the least advantage communities across England, who were at risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training). The Girls Network provides each of these girls with a personal mentor who will boost their confidence and open their eyes to the endless opportunities in life. Dean and Young believe that the mentoring also has a ‘ripple effect’, changing the beliefs that parents, siblings and friends hold about what they, or the girls they know, can”.
DR EMILY WILSON-SMITH
Established in 2012, but officially registered as a UK charity in 2014, Irise International gives high quality menstrual health education in East Africa and in the UK. Furthermore, Irise International supplies thousands of girls with sanitary products, including their own locally manufactured reusable sanitary pad.
“Our ‘Girls in Control’ project provides young women and girls in both Uganda and the UK with the essential information and products they need to feel happy, confident and safe in schools whilst on their periods”, says Wilson-Smith.
Since its conception in 2013, Sal’s Shoes have been collecting pre-loved shoes at schools and companies to distribute to those in need. Now, over 150,000 pairs of them are shipped to children around the world, who do not own shoes and live in areas in which a range of soil-transmitted and foot-related diseases are prevalent.
“We receive feedback from locations where we have held distributions years after to say the shoes we distributed are now being worn by younger siblings of the original recipients”, says CJ Bowry.
EDUCATING THE CHILDREN
In Kenya, state law requires a secondary school certificate for any kind of formal employment. No school means no job and that means life in poverty. That’s why after establishing her charity organisation ETC in 2008, Sonal Kadchha decided to open Sekenani Girls High School in Masai Mara in 2014. By providing Kenyan girls with an education and a secondary school certificate, Sonal Kadchha gives the possibility of a future to women who otherwise wouldn’t even dream of one.
Chayn is a global gender and tech non-profit project founded in 2013 by Hera Hussain. Their goal is to use technology to empower women experiencing abuse and oppression. In 4 years they’ve managed to reach over 120 000 people using a plethora of digital media channels with content created by 130 volunteers - the majority of them are survivors of domestic abuse themselves. Chayn also have created an open-source guide ‘How to Build Your Own Domestic Violence Case Without a Lawyer’ which they plan to translate in at least three different languages.