Out in Your Community: A New Way to Support Women and Girls

A woman escaping Ukraine with her baby. © UNFPA/Siegfried Modola

It can be dizzying to keep up with all that is going on in the world: from the news coming out of Ukraine; to developments in other humanitarian emergencies like those in Yemen, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo; to the potential upheaval of reproductive health care at home.  

And, it can be maddening to feel like there’s only so much you can do. But, two of our supporters, Theo and Denise, found another way to give back: peer-to-peer fundraising.  

What is peer-to-peer fundraising? 

Peer-to-peer fundraising comes in many shapes and sizes and includes activities like 5K charity runs, birthday fundraisers, and bake sales. But, peer-to-peer fundraising always includes reaching out to your community and asking them to support a cause you care about. Both Theo and Denise asked their communities to support women and girls surviving the war in Ukraine, but they did so in very different ways. I spoke to both Theo and Denise about why they chose to support women and girls through peer-to-peer fundraising.  

Theo stands in front of his lemonade stand. He also sold snickerdoodle cookies and painted seashells that he got from a family vacation to New Jersey. His shirt reads, “Is that all you got?” Image courtesy of Varina Winder.

Theo’s Lemonade Stand: Classic Peer-to-Peer Outreach  

Theo is six years old and in kindergarten. Usually, he explained, “I really like running around on the playground. That’s how I get as fast as I can get. I also play hockey with my dad and baseball.” But one afternoon in April, Theo did something a little different: he held a lemonade stand to benefit women and girls in Ukraine.  

He felt motivated to help women and girls because, “I like my mom and she does fun activities, that’s why I want to help women and girls. In Ukraine, women and girls are getting flighted and it’s mean.” So, to help, Theo recruited his mom, little sister Emme, and his neighbors, Maggie and Clara to run a seashell-lemonade-cookie stand.  

Theo with his sister, Emmy, and some of the shells they painted.  Image courtesy of Varina Winder.

“It started as a seashell stand,” Theo explained. “I got the idea when I was in New Jersey with my cousin and my aunt. When we were walking down the pathway, we noticed shells and we started picking them up and putting them in a bucket. When I got home, I painted them blue and yellow for Ukraine. My cousin helped us. In addition to seashells, we thought people might be thirsty or hungry, so we made lemonade and snickerdoodles. The stand was good. A lot of people came. We made over $300.”  

Theo’s contribution will go toward essential support in Ukraine, like prenatal and safe delivery care, dignity kits for woman and girl refugees, and support for survivors of violence. You can join Theo in helping women and girls by hosting your own peer-to-peer fundraiser and by staying informed and educating your community on these important issues.  

Denise’s Virtual Fundraiser: A New Way to Engage Your Community 

Members of GPA at a 5k event they held. Image courtesy of Delphine Broccard.

Denise is the president and founder of Girls’ Power Association (GPA), a student club at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, CA. GPA’s mission is to empower women and girls by focusing on advocating for their rights, safety, and wellbeing. Denise felt compelled to support women and girls in Ukraine, because, “These civilian women and girls are innocent. The war has destroyed their homes and made it difficult for them to survive. We were concerned about the many women and girls who are suffering from the war in Ukraine and wanted to support them. However, we didn’t want to “just send money” — we wanted to personalize our support.”  

We worked with GPA to create a personal fundraising page that they could use to send to their community. With this new tool, they were able to raise funds for UNFPA dignity kits. Dignity kits contain items like underwear, soap, laundry detergent, menstrual pads, and a toothbrush. These supplies give women and girls the resources they need to stay healthy and manage their periods. This support is so critical as the crisis in Ukraine has ballooned into one of the world’s largest refugee emergencies. More than 10 million people have left their homes or their country.

Denise said the dignity kits resonated with GPA, because, “Dignity Kits are not just a necessity for women, they are proof of value and respect. By having access to resources to support proper hygiene, women and girls can better cope and maintain their dignity in times of crisis. In the end – through dignity kits – we hope to help them with their physical needs and provide them with moral support.” 

Start Your Own Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser

We can’t thank Theo and Denise enough for delivering vital care to women and girls in Ukraine. You can join them by reaching out to your community. To set up your own fundraiser, visit our How to Help page. For more information about peer-to-peer fundraising, contact Sarah Weatherley at

Dana Kirkegaard
Be there for women and girls, no matter what

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