Patricia Fortlage

Photographer
     
Othakarhaka... passing on the kindness
Location: San Diego
Nationality: US
Biography: Patricia Fortlage is a female empowerment photographic long-form storyteller and fine art photographer.  From her core belief that if you invest in women and girls, entire communities will be raised, Patricia has focused much of her... read on
Public Story
Othakarhaka... passing on the kindness
Here was a girl, from one of the poorest regions in the poorest country on earth, who wanted an education.  Her uncle's girlfriend agreed to sponsor her in college, but they died in a car accident between Ida's second and third year.  Ida left school until a kind woman from the US offered to sponsor her to graduation.  Because of the kindness of these two women, Ida Puliwa would be the first girl in her village (and the other 9 villages surrounding hers) to get a full education.  They saw her as a role model and a hero.

So what did Ida do?  She forwarded that kindness to her communities.  She started a foundation called Othakarhaka (‘passing on the kindness’ in the local language, Chichewa) which has developed a number of programs benefiting her local communities.  They have orphan school scholarships, an adult literacy program, a tailoring program, a farming program, a 4H program for students, a tree planting program, along with many other smaller efforts (training how to build rocket stoves, caring/protection for the elderly, bee keeping, etc.).  The Foundation has a full board of directors, is supported by all 10 local chiefs, has over 3,000 volunteers, and is LOCALLY managed.  There is no other country or organization telling her what to do or how to do it.  No one is saving these villages, but these villages themselves… all led by Ida Puliwa, a young woman who, as a girl, was very grateful for an education. 
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