A tribute by Takuro Kimura, founding board member and friend of WoWE

A tribute by Takuro Kimura, founding board member and friend of WoWE 150 150 Safo

Women’s History Month

Celebrating Women Changemakers in our Lives, Communities, and Organizations

Celebrating Women Changemakers

My name is Takuro Kimura, and I am Women of the World Endowment’s founding board member. This Women’s History Month, I would like to celebrate my mother-in-law, Ms. Eiko Ishikura. I am donating to World Central Kitchen, an organization first to the frontlines in providing meals to humanitarian, climate and community crises.

Born in Tokyo in 1932, she spent her younger life in the wartime and post-war era of having very little. While many people sold their belongings for food, Eiko taught more youthful children in her neighborhood to study as their parents requested, and she found it very satisfying. Later in her life, she continued to teach others languages, cooking, engraving, flower arts – anything she learned – to help others learn.

Divorced when my spouse was young, she had to earn her living. As a born leader who is always positive and loves challenges, she quickly built her businesses by organizing classes and renting rooms of her house to high school students from her alma mater, the School of Sacred Heart of Tokyo. She then later built a high-end condominium for foreigners near the center of Tokyo, which was still rare in the ’70s. Even after such a large project, she did not stop doing new things and addressing  challenges. More recently, she installed solar panels on the roof-top of the condominium, after the government introduced a subsidy for green buildings.

Eiko Ishikura as a student at the University of Sacred Heart, Tokyo.

Eiko Ishikura at the center (second from the right) and Ayako Sono on the left in Japanese Kimono

While she conducted her own business, she set up a charity with her best friend from the school, Ms. Ayako Sono, a famous novelist. The charity supported initiatives by Japanese missionaries in developing countries, including Latin America, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa. When I worked and lived in Cote d’Ivoire, her charity donated funds to projects in neighboring countries like Ghana and Burkina Faso. She had been operating the charity for half a century when, several years ago, she finally retired and was succeeded by a younger alumna of the School of Sacred Heart of Tokyo.

At the age of ninety, she remains healthy and continues to support local artists and create community circles among the elders living in the neighborhood. Her motto is to keep her door open and always be ready to work for others, which I more than admire.

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Women of the World Endowment is an investment non-profit focused on centralizing women as economic, environmental, and social changemakers while delivering market-rate, risk-adjusted returns and impact at scale. Every day, WoWE invests in, advances, and amplifies women changemakers. We thank Takuro and all of the WoWE community who celebrate women changemakers.

Women’s leadership on the frontlines of our homes, healthcare, businesses, and country leadership has been exceptional in the context of the accelerating challenges the world faces, while at the same time testing women as they have borne the brunt of lay-offs, childcare, and more.  We can collectively acknowledge that we ALL stand on the shoulders of Women Changemakers.

During Women’s History Month we are taking a personal approach to celebrating the rich contributions of women in our lives, communities, and economies. We hope you will join us in honoring the women who have made it possible to be the change we want to see in the world –  those we work with, those who inspire us, and those who have championed our success.

Throughout the month we will continue to share stories and celebrate the extraordinary contributions of women changemakers who have and continue to effect lasting positive change.  If you would like to share your story and the organizations you are donating to with the WoWE community please send a note to Jennifer Brooker and we will amplify. If you would like to learn more about how to engage with WoWE  and support women Changemakers, click here.

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