Zimele + One Day's Wages

We are excited to share that Zimele USA and Zimele Wethu Foundation are partnering with One Day's Wages on a year long project to empower Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) in KwaZulu Natal.

Over the next three months, our goal is to fully fund a $40,000 ODW matching grant which will allow us to serve 146 orphans & vulnerable children (ages 7-21) in the communities of Msinga, Swayimane and rural Durban. This year long program will cover topics of body awareness, understanding/ prevention/ intervention of abuse, as well as teaching Zulu culture, values and increasing self-esteem. OVCs will also gain work skills assistance, mentorship and integration into savings groups.

This project works alongside the Zimele women who currently care for these OVCs and will empower them to actively participate in ending the cycle of abuse in their communities and contribute to the ultimate outcome of creating sustainable communities where every member, including children, actively participate in social and economic transformation.

Please help us reach our goal of raising $40,000 for this project by making a tax-deductible donation today. For more information on this campaign, how you can get involved or to donate, please visit onedayswages-zimele.funraise.org.

As always, we thank you for your continued support and partnership of Zimele's work in South Africa.

2019 Ride for Zimele Recap

Thank you to everyone who donated to the 2019 Ride for Zimele! With your support, over $8,122 was raised for Zimele programs to confront poverty and empower women in South Africa.

Also, a very special thank you to our riders Dennis, Erica, Mike, Neil and Peter who sacrificed their time from family and work to bike 250 miles for Zimele!

We are already planning for next year so contact us if you’re interested in the 2020 Ride for Zimele!


By Christine Lee

Last year, my husband Taylor was invited to an event called Hell on the Hill. It’s an event where people of all different backgrounds including marathon runners, Ironman Triathletes, UFC fighters, and veterans are invited to a challenge -- a challenge that tests you not only physically but your mental fortitude as well.  You are tasked to run up and down a steep hill 100 times for a total of 8.4 miles. Why would anyone want to do this? For me, I had no choice.  “No” was not an option.

Jesse Itzler and his wife Sarah Blakley, the power couple behind the race started this event for fun. It’s special and unique because it’s in the backyard of their lake house! There is no race fee and THEY personally donate $1000 to each participant’s charity of choice for completing the race. Through this race, they raise awareness about different charities while promoting health, fitness, and wellness.

This year, Taylor was invited again by Jesse and was super excited to participate even though he barely survived last year’s race because of his messed-up knee.  You can read more about his experience in his recap here.

One day Taylor joked that he’s going to need me to tag-team with him and take on a few laps on The Hill. I thought why not, a few laps wouldn't be bad at all since I’ve always been into fitness and playing sports.  More recently, I started running this year with some friends, so when Taylor suggested taking a few laps for him, I knew I could manage.

But I wasn’t prepared when on Tuesday night I asked Taylor, “What percentage do you think I’m going to run?”

He flatly replied, “Oh all of it.”  There was no discussion after this response as I tried to absorb the magnitude of what he just said and count the number of days until race day: 4.   

I knew that Taylor is not one to miss out on this chance to participate again. Knowing about his injured knee, his high pain tolerance level, and how badly he wanted to participate, I silently agreed to take his place.

While I have done some 5Ks and 10Ks, I’ve never participated in a physical activity that took more than 1.5 hours, and this event was known to take up to 4 hours.

So, the day after I found out I was doing The Hill I put in a good cram session hour on a stair master while thinking thank God at least I had many Maven workouts under my belt as well as some running on the weekends.

Before the race started on race day, everyone talked about where they’re from and the charities they represented. Two stood out:  a young woman, beautiful and super fit, with stage IV lung cancer running for her very own personal charity; and Dan an ex-marine who lost his leg in battle.  Their stories touched me so much that my nervousness turned into thankfulness and feeling beyond honored to be doing this with them.

Going through The Hill was truly hell.

But when you have inspiring people running this in order to raise money for their charities and all of the supportive spectators, it pushes you on.  These people who overcame so much adversity kept me going even though I wanted to stop and take breaks.

I’m proud to say that I finished 25th out of 70.  Wow, I finished and survived the race!  Although my legs are still healing days after, I think being consistent with Maven training helped me to survive this type of brutality.

Anyway, I love a good challenge and it was an opportunity to support Zimele USA, an amazing charity which has helped thousands of South African women in rural villages to launch their own businesses and deeply impact their respective communities.   I would instantly do this again if I could -- to be surrounded by such incredible human beings and to be inspired by them and their stories.


Reposted with permission from Maven Center:

Baker Spotlight: Joohee Kim of Joohee Bakes

Get to know the talented and generous bakers that graciously donated their time, effort, and absolutely scrumptious baked goods to our virtual fundraiser, Baked with Love.  In our Baker Spotlight, we focus on one of our volunteer bakers and explore what drives them to not just create, but to give.
Mini Macarons by Joohee Bakes.   Purchase them here !

Mini Macarons by Joohee Bakes.  Purchase them here!

The second baker in our Baker Spotlight series is Joohee Kim of Joohee Bakes.  She operates locally out of Englewood, NJ.  She is also a Zimele Ambassador, having gone to South Africa on the 2015 Ambassador Trip with Zimele USA.

Where does your love of baking come from?

I think it stems from the love for the arts and the creative, tactile art-making process involved. I also love how baking lends itself as a great tool for sharing love and encouragement.

How has baking positively influenced the other aspects of your life and the person you have become?

The discipline of baking has matured me as a person in so many ways. I think kitchen work in general helps one to become meticulous with planning and preparing, attentive to time and safety, and creative and efficient with the use of resources. I had none of the skills in these areas, and especially in multitasking. But as with any discipline, more practice helps, and I'm constantly training as I go. But it's definitely helped me to become more responsible and less reckless as a person, which is helpful well beyond the work setting and in all of my relationships, too.

What are your ideals and how do they come through in your baking?

I would love for the baked goods to be enjoyable and encouraging to people who consume them. In the end, they are just small desserts, but it's still a humble mission accomplished if they helped lift up somebody.

Any reflections on Zimele's mission that you would like to share with us?

When I traveled to SA on the 2015 Amabassador Trip, the Zimele women taught me to live life not our of fear or scarcity, but to the full. Personally, the Zimele community I saw was truthfully living out the faith, hope and love (1 Corinthians 13:13). They indeed love extravagantly. I think I will always be remembering and learning this from these women. I'm so thankful that Zimele USA is doing this amazing collaborative bake sale also in our local community, in a way just like the Zimele bakers in South Africa do. I'm so grateful and humbled to be a part.

Baker Spotlight: Dana of Dana Yu Creative

Get to know the talented and generous bakers that graciously donated their time, effort, and absolutely scrumptious baked goods to our virtual fundraiser, Baked with Love.  In our Baker Spotlight, we focus on one of our volunteer bakers and explore what drives them to not just create, but to give.
Cake Pops by Dana Yu Creative.   Purchase them here !

Cake Pops by Dana Yu Creative.  Purchase them here!

We kick off our Baker Spotlight series with Dana Yu, of Dana Yu Creative.  Not only is she a talented baker, she is also a phenomenal professional photographer!

What ignited the spark in you to strike out on your own and start your own business?

Honestly, starting my own business was a most unexpected, unlikely decision. Growing up and even until post-college, I didn't think I had a creative, never mind entrepreneurial, bone in my body - I don't recall ever feeling inclined to craft, bake, take photos, etc. But I entered a season shortly after having kids where I felt like I was wandering in the wilderness. I had my first daughter at 24 - earlier than my husband and I had planned for, I quit teaching to stay at home with my two little ones, I battled discouragement and despair while doing ministry in the small church God had called my husband and me to serve, and I had very little community to process, grow, and do life with. It was in this season of questioning my purpose and new identity as a mother that I felt compelled to create. In hindsight, it was this journey into the wilderness that allowed me to conceive the space to cling to joy and beauty - because you can recognize true goodness that much more distinctly in the wilderness. And in that place, I discovered a desire not just to create beautiful things, but to play a role in cultivating and capturing moments of true joy and meaning. Thus, the birth of Dana Yu Creative!

How has baking positively influenced the other aspects of your life and the person you have become?

Baking has helped me to slow down and enjoy the process of creating something beautiful (and delicious!). Each step requires attention to detail and patience in order to guarantee a beautiful finished product. This meticulous process has definitely helped me develop patience and perspective even in raising kids! I know I can't force my girls to be a certain way over night (although many days, I definitely try to rush this process, ha!). But with constant love and patient guidance, I have utmost hope they will grow to be loving, faithful, and selfless women who live to serve others. Fingers crossed.

Any reflections on Zimele's mission that you would like to share with us?

My biggest role models have been the generations of women in my family: my great grandmother who was the first woman in her family to get an education; my grandmother who was a pillar of faith in her community; my own mother who grew up in rural Korea, got piano lessons from a church member, immigrated to the States and earned a PhD in music while learning a new language. Women have incredible strength and ability to thrive if given even the smallest opportunity. Zimele provides that and more by mentoring and empowering women stuck in cycles of poverty.

Baked with Love Fundraiser Returns!

We're so excited to announce the second annual Baked with Love fundraiser for this upcoming Valentine's Day!   Share sweets baked with love with co-workers, friends, teachers, classmates and loved ones while supporting Zimele USA.  

How To Order:
You'll be able to place your orders through our website.  You'll find a link to the order form on our main Baked with Love page.  We'll be accepting orders until Sunday, February 5, 2017.

Pick Up Info:
All orders will be available for pick up from the Happy Hello shop in Englewood Cliffs, NJ on a specified date before Valentine's Day.  We will also be offering delivery service for $20 to Manhattan addresses on Monday, February 13th.


Calling All Bakers:
Zimele USA is seeking professional and semi-professional bakers to participate in our Valentine's Day themed Baked with Love virtual bake sale.  For more information about this fundraiser and how to participate, contact esther@zimelecommunity.org.

We would also like to extend a big, warm THANK YOU to the bakers for their generous donations that are pictured above from last year:

Angie C Lee
Big City Little Sweets
Joohee Bakes
Jennifer Choi Dessert Catering
Goodie Box Bake Shop
Made by Jennifer
Minty H. Cupcakes
Angi & Co.

Announcing the Release of our 2015 Annual Report

We are delighted to announce the launch of Zimele USA's first annual report.  The year of 2015 was a year of changes for Zimele USA.  Thank you for sharing in our joys and challenges.   We continue to  confront the root causes of poverty in rural South Africa by empowering women with financial literacy, small business and life skills to sustain themselves, their families, and their communities.  Your support goes a long way in helping us to fulfill our mission.

Please click on the image below to view our 2015 Annual Report.  This report and future annual reports will be found in the About Us section. 

SoulCycle Charity Ride for Zimele USA

1 coordinator + 2 hosts + 3 conference calls + 170 emails + 61 (sold out) bikes = priceless event

On Saturday, October 24, 61 people came out to Ride for Zimele USA at SoulCycle. The support we received was amazing and inspirational!

Thank you to our hosts Sophia Peppas and Meghan Kay, who tirelessly and selflessly gave their time and energy to ensure the event would be a success! 

A special Thank You also to everyone at SoulCycle and all our sponsors - Aquareveal, Big City Little Sweets, MavenShake and New Yorker Bagels and Joohee Bakes.


Wine101 Event Benefiting Zimele USA

Last month, Zimele USA kicked off a new series of events in partnership with WineO Club. Hosted by Taylor Lee (Board Member) and his wife Christine, a group of 15 guests gathered for Wine101, a fun, informal evening of learning about Zimele, wines, pairings and participating in a scent “quiz” led by WineO Club Founder & certified sommelier Mark Fang. Guests also had an opportunity to sign up for WineO Club services, which would give a portion of proceeds back to Zimele. Now that’s sipping for good!

WineO Club Founder & Certified Sommelier Mark Fang

WineO Club Founder & Certified Sommelier Mark Fang

For anyone interested in hosting a Wine101 Event to benefit Zimele, please email angela@zimelecommunity.org for details.

4th Annual Zimele Gala

Thank you to everyone who joined us at the 4th Annual Zimele Gala! With your generous support, we were able to reach our fundraising goal of $125,000!

We'd like to especially thank all our sponsors - Crane Partners, Grace & Mercy Foundation, Metro Community Church, Maven, MS Equities, Piccolo NY, Angi & Co, AmazeBooths and Joohee Bakes for their support. And a very big THANK YOU to our volunteers who continue to give their time to Zimele!

Following are a few images from the evening. We look forward to seeing you next year!

Photo Credits: Isaac Nho and Daniel D. Kim

Gala Emcee, Angela Robinson or Tyler Perry's The Haves & The Have Nots

Gala Emcee, Angela Robinson or Tyler Perry's The Haves & The Have Nots

2015 Corporate Honoree - Richard Han of Crane Partners

2015 Corporate Honoree - Richard Han of Crane Partners

Keynote Speaker - Neil Lynch, Zimele Board Member & Ambassador

Keynote Speaker - Neil Lynch, Zimele Board Member & Ambassador

A couple of our amazing volunteers

A couple of our amazing volunteers

Keynote Speaker - Xolani Zondi of Zimele Community South Africa

Keynote Speaker - Xolani Zondi of Zimele Community South Africa

Guests at the Silent Auction display

Guests at the Silent Auction display

Angela Robinson with the amazing performers from the evening - LaTrisa Harper, Senfuab Stoney, Charlie Smith, Gavin Gergory, Jamard Richardson, Kevin Curtis, Nicole Adell, Kayla Rose Aimable, Yeman Brown, Alexandria Johnson

Angela Robinson with the amazing performers from the evening - LaTrisa Harper, Senfuab Stoney, Charlie Smith, Gavin Gergory, Jamard Richardson, Kevin Curtis, Nicole Adell, Kayla Rose Aimable, Yeman Brown, Alexandria Johnson

Zimele USA + Petit Elephant NYC

Zimele USA is honored that Petit Elephant NYC has chosen Zimele as its partner organization. Brought to life in 2015 by Melanie Barrows, designer & mother of two, Petit Elephant is dedicated to designing hand-made bracelets and necklaces for children 3-9 years old with unique charms and tassels to help the wearer remember a special event or memory.

In this new partnership, Petit Elephant will donate 10% of its proceeds to Zimele. In addition, the company has designed bracelets inspired by Zimele. These unique bracelets come in a set of 3 and include a charm in the shape of Africa and a coral tassel. 

To purchase these Zimele inspired bracelets, click here

Zimele is dedicated to confronting the root causes of poverty by providing women with the skills, resources, and support networks to start businesses and social service projects to sustain not only themselves, but their families and communities. As a mother of two young girls, Zimele's mission is dear to her heart.


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