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A Day in My Life

What motivates our small, international team to tackle one of the biggest challenges in global development? Trickle Up partners and staff reveal what drives their passion for helping the world's poorest and most vulnerable women achieve self-sufficiency and become active members of their communities.

This video premiered at our 2015 Gala and is the second of two. Click here to watch the first video, "Our Voices"!

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Our Voices
Travel with us to rural West Bengal, India and meet Pinky, Sibani and Durgamoni, three women who've faced and overcome the economic and social exclusion of extreme poverty. Hear their remarkable stories firsthand and learn how women once on the margins of their villages can now say "If I continue with my business and farming, I will be on top. No one can stop me."

This video premiered at our 2015 Gala and is the first of two. Click here to watch the second video, "A Day in My Life"!

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From Exclusion to Inclusion

Trickle Up is proud of its commitment to include people with disabilities in our work. In 2013, 13% of Trickle Up's participants were people affected by disabilities—including people with disabilities themselves, who pursue livelihood activities with Trickle Up support, and women who support family members with a disability.

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Standing Strong & Emerging Together

In March 2014, we tasked a small, three-person film crew to capture the first-hand experiences of Trickle Up participants; women living in extreme poverty taking an incredible eighteen-month journey to defy the social, economic and environmental barriers which perpetuate poverty in its most extreme form. We travel from New York City to Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso, a land-locked country below the Sahel in the center of West Africa. A further two hour drive from the capital we meet Mariam, Juliette and Awa--women once living in the direst poverty, on the margins of small desert villages--who have seized the knowledge and tools Trickle Up provides to build thriving livelihoods and social solidarity with other women that now allow them to say:

"Now we can buy schoolbooks, medicine, and we put food on the table every single day."

"Now, I have a store selling clothes, necklaces and shoes. Before, I couldn't even provide shoes for my children."

"With Trickle Up, we work together to support one another. The savings group is powerful; we became like a family. If someone has a problem, we're on her side."

Trickle Up Burkina Faso Country Representative Alexice To sheds light on the condition of extreme poverty and Trickle Up's innovative program aimed squarely at eliminating it. Hear the stories of these women in their own voices, speaking from their own experience, who now have the confidence and resources they need to change their lives and their communities.

Watch Part 2: Emerging Together

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Trickle Up Works

On a recent trip to Guatemala, we visited Trickle Up participants who've only been engaged in our livelihoods program for 6 months. They're already going strong and making astonishing progress building livelihoods and lifting their families out of extreme poverty. Trickle Up president Bill Abrams narrates.

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A Platform for Change

How the Women of Rel Wende Transformed the Village of Pinou

In a Burkinabé village, there exists a large green machine connected to a belt with a blue cone on top. Women of the Rel Wendé savings group bought it over a year ago with their collective savings to help them more efficiently mill the grain their businesses produce annually.

It has become a symbol of pride for all the residents of Pinou. So much so that when Trickle Up staff visited in late 2012, they were eager to show us just how important the multifunction platform is to their lives.

To read their incredible story, click here.

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Susie Crippen and Trickle Up in Guatemala I: The Introductions

In the fall of 2012, Trickle Up had the pleasure of welcoming fashion designer Susie Crippen to Guatemala to see our program first-hand. This three part series is of Susie's journey to the Central American country to learn more about what it means to live in ultrapoverty and how Trickle Up betters the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable every day.

In Susie's own words: "Starting a business changes you. It opens a world of accomplishment, curiosity and confidence like nothing else. I know this first hand from having done so at J Brand. The most rewarding part of my trip was to see that familiar glow on the more than 40 woman who had participated in the Trickle Up program and were continuing to grow their businesses and work their way out of poverty."

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Two Extraordinary Women
Meet two extraordinary women who define Trickle Up's past, present, and future: Mildred Robbins Leet, Trickle Up's late co-founder and Achiron Bibi, one of the most dynamic participants in our program.

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She is the Solution
Trickle Up is committed to helping women break the cycle of extreme poverty for themselves and their families. Here's how...

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I Have a lot of Dreams ~ A Video Journal by Kathleen Donovan, Trickle Up Board Member
Follow Trickle Up Board member Kathleen Donovan as she walks us through her recent trip to India to witness Trickle Up's program in action:

This past January, I was invited along with my son Michael and other members of the board to visit with some of the women in Trickle Up's India program. We visited a number of different villages in the state of West Bengal such as Cholagora, Ghat and Dikhi.

Being so far from the places Trickle Up works, it's difficult to fully understand the impact we have. Sitting in a board meeting on 6th Avenue in New York City, it's hard to make a connection to these women's lives. Being in India in January and listening to the women tell me how they've transformed their lives through their courage, perseverance and the Trickle Up program, changed that for me.

I could go on about the amazing women I met on my trip, but I'd like to show you rather than tell you.

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The Mothers of Barbe Village (Mali, West Africa)
On a recent trip to Mali, West Africa, Trickle Up President Bill Abrams was fortunate to meet a savings group in the village of Barbé. Many of these women are proud mothers who, as a result of their Trickle Up supported businesses, can now afford to send their children to school.

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My Fear has Gone Far Away: Defining Success
Trickle Up staff visited participants in West Bengal in January 2011 to monitor their progress. See how they are meeting our definitions of success.

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Meet Lakhimuni Murmu
Lakhimuni Murmu is a Trickle Up participant from India. Here she shows us how she used her Trickle Up grant to purchase goats and to cultivate her vegetable garden.

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A Thank You from Diando

While I was in Mali last month, I had the pleasure of meeting a Trickle Up participant by the name of Diando Koulibaly. Diando talked to me about her successful new business selling fish, how she can now overcome the hungry season and about her positive outlook on life.

I can think of no better way of conveying thanks to you than to let you hear it from Diando herself.


Bill Abrams
President, Trickle Up

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Trickle Up Mali: Meet Diando Koulibaly
Diando Koulibaly, 41, joined the Trickle Up Mali program in January 2010. Listen along as she talks to us about her successful new business selling fish and overcoming the hungry season, and tells us about her savings group and outlook for the future!

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Trickle Up India: Meet Sanaka Sardar
India's rural poor—those living on less than $1.25 a day— face a daily struggle. Learn how Sanaka Sardar broke this cycle of poverty with the support of Trickle Up.

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Why Trickle Up?
With 1/5 of the world's population living on less than $1.25 a day, this video showcases how Trickle Up helps the extreme poor take their first steps out of poverty.

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Imagine A Village
"Imagine a Village" examines the dire conditions of Mali's poorest, most isolated people—those living on less than $1.25 per person per day—and demonstrates what can happen when women are given the support they need to take the first steps out of poverty.

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Featured Film: The Test of Poverty
The Test of Poverty follows two women living in extreme poverty in West Bengal, India, as they participate in Trickle Up's program and work to change the effects that generations of poverty have had on their families' lives. The film shows that addressing the needs of the ultra-poor those living on less than $1.25 day involves more than just providing them with capital, and must be viewed through a wider lens. The film also captures the powerful effects that increased self‐confidence and empowerment that come from participating in Trickle Up's program have in helping women break the vicious cycle of extreme poverty.  

The Test of Poverty was directed by Gautam Bose and produced with support from the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), which is spearheading a global effort to understand how safety nets, livelihoods, and microfinance can be sequenced to create pathways for the poorest to graduate out of extreme poverty.  

The Test of Poverty shows how Trickle Up helps the ultra-poor holistically and with lasting results.

To view a shorter 4 minute version, please visit:

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Trickle Up India: The Lift Irrigation Song
It is as plain as any structure could be. A concrete block house on the edge of the Chaka stream, in the hamlet of Nimtalakuli, in the village of Majhihira, an hour’s drive from the town of Purullia, which is a six-hour train ride from Kolkata. The block house has a corrugated metal roof, and the man who tends it has to bang the rusty handle with a hammer to open the door. Inside it is dark and damp, and all you can hear is the heartbeat of an eight-horsepower diesel pump. A green plastic hose leads to the pump from an eight-inch square hole in the wall of the blockhouse; the hose delivers water from the Chaka, and a second hose carries the water out of another opening on the opposite side of the building.

That's all it has taken to improve the lives of the majority of the 120 families who live in Nimtalakuli, which is among the poorest villages in all of India. The method, which uses the pump and gravity wherever possible, is called "lift irrigation," and has been so beneficial for the village, the lives of its inhabitants have changed dramaticallyso much so that this Trickle Up project has been honored with a folk song.

Written and performed by Nibaran Mohato in Manjhihiri, a village in India.

Translated from Bengali by Maitreyee Ghosh

(For the complete lyrics, please visit Trickle Up's YouTube page at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eEDzyPkj1U)

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