On this day dedicated to women's rights, we want to share two young HomeExchangers’ project with you. Selma and Isolde are the founders of the World of Women (WOW) association, whose goal is to build a global panorama of inspiring women of various walks of life to offer new models of female success.
During the first edition of this project, Selma and Isolde traveled for almost 6 months to 11 African countries to interview inspiring and committed women, coming from various socio-cultural backgrounds and who have achieved great things in their respective fields. Part of this journey was done through exchanging homes, which enabled them to meet some of their hosts and discuss women’s place in society and the topic of female emancipation with them.
Here is a snippet of their adventures and some highlights of their experience:
What is World of Women?
Just out of business school, we founded World of Women in 2018. It is digital media that draws portraits of women with exceptional careers around the world. The goal is to inspire the new generation of women to follow these role models’ examples and to think outside the box.
We meet and interview these women from all over the world. For our first edition of the project, we decided to go to eleven countries in Africa to meet 100 women there.
During our stay in African cities, being part of the HomeExchange community allowed us to meet local people and stay in amazing houses. We talked with our hosts a lot about their vision for women’s empowerment, and they gave us advice on what to do in the countries we visited.
Here is our summary.
In Nairobi, we stayed in Darren and Emma’s chalet, at the heart of the Karen district, where Emily welcomed us like queens.
She shared stories about her life in Kenya with, and told us how women have struggled for their rights and those of their children over the last decade.
This allowed us to better understand our first interview with Wanjira Maathai, the daughter of the first African woman to obtain the Nobel Peace Prize: Wangari Maathai. We discussed her commitment to the Wangari Maathai Foundation, the Institute, and the Green Belt Movement, her struggle for environmental protection, and how tree planting has enabled Kenyan communities to bond.
Emily also recommended places for us to visit over the weekend: first a lunch at the Tin Roof Café, then a drink at the K1 Klub House.
But our greatest memory was our visit to the Giraffe Center in Karen where we were able to pet and feed Rothschild giraffes!
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town never ceased to amaze us during our week-long stay! Peter welcomed us into his apartment, which offers a spectacular view of the sunset over the bay.
He gave us basic tips for visiting the city: Cape Town is more liberal than Johannesburg, we can go on beautiful walks, and there are so many initiatives by women working for their community.
This is how we met Emma from the Umthumzi Farming Community, who, along with her co-founder Kim, founded a startup connecting consumers from Cape Town to farms growing vegetables in the townships, providing beautiful and delicious baskets of fruit and vegetables every week.
Our greatest adventure was definitely watching the sun rise from the top of Lion's Head, one of the city's peaks, and enjoying a good view of Table Mountain and Camps Bay early in the morning.
Suzanne and her family welcomed us to the vibrant city of Maputo! Their charming house was the perfect base for our interviews, right in the city center.
Suzanne warned us: here, women are hard workers and leaders. They have roles of responsibility and are not afraid to take the reins.
Her impressions were confirmed by our meeting with Neusa Marcelino. She is the General Manager of the Mozambique Region for CMA CGM, one of the largest shipping lines in the world, with more than 20 billion dollars in annual revenue. This meeting was exceptional: she shared her story with us and told us about how work and persistence made her dreams come true.
To rest after our 5 meetings, we took Suzanne's advice and toured the Feira Popular, a vintage-style amusement park located near the beautiful train station.
For more information about our African Adventures, click here: