In 2008, freelance journalist Amanda Lindhout traveled to Somalia to research a story on the millions of people affected by war, drought and famine. Kidnapped by teenage criminals, Lindhout spent 15 months enduring unimaginable hardships as a hostage in the world's poorest country. Following her release in November 2009, Lindhout quickly gained a name for herself as a humanitarian, working tirelessly as a passionate advocate for women's rights.
Only four months after her return to Canada, Lindhout founded the Global Enrichment Foundation (GEF), creating programs which provide opportunities for Somali women to reclaim their lives from the devastating effects of war.
The GEF launched The Somali Women's Scholarship Program in 2010 which is providing full university scholarships, within Somalia, to extraordinary Somali women who have a clear vision of the kind of change they are going to create in their communities. In 2011 the GEF is sponsoring the university education of 36 women who will go to become doctors, teachers, environmentalists, engineers and more.
This spring the GEF launched SHE WILL, a micro-loan initiative for female Somali refugees in Kenya, with a goal of creating economic empowerment for widows and other women severely affected by poverty.
The GEF sponsors Community Empowerment programs that bring educational workshops to communities across Somalia, focusing on conflict resolution and peace building as well as women's advocacy training.
In May of 2011 the GEF became the sponsor of one of Somalia's only female basketball teams, The Sankaroos; providing uniforms, balls, hoops, and other equipment- supporting female leadership through sport!
Lindhout has moved beyond the 460 days she spent in captivity to share the need for compassion, the triumph of personal transformation, and, most of all, the process of forgiveness.
Lindhout is passionate about creating awareness of the opportunities each individual has to create sustainable change in the world. Lindhout holds a Diploma in Development Leadership from the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.
For more information regarding Amanda's awards, accomplishments, and affiliates, please visit the following links: