Today is International Day of the Girl Child- A Day to CATAPULT Women & Girls Toward Change!

To celebrate the first annual International Day of the Girl Child, I am SO thrilled to announce that We Advance is part of an amazing new crowdfunding platform, solely dedicated to funding projects which advance the lives of girls and women around the world!

I would love for everyone to help us on this launch day to  CATAPULT  girls’ and womens’ rights in Haiti & We Adavance  through  further outreach, education  and empowerment!

Help us tweet, facebook and spread the word all over the world TODAY!

THANK YOU to Lindsey and the Catapult team for your vision and getting funds where they are most needed- to the women themselves!

Description of how Catapult works here.

Join our team

Empowerment Project Update

Good Afternoon Folks,

Dawn Emling was in Haiti in the last few days, and gave us a great status report from the empowerment project that I would love to share with you all! While Dawn was there, she spent a lot of time with Tina and the trainers. There were a lot of details that were discussed. Tina also gave her some thoughtful recommendations. The trainers are completely enthused! They show up early to classes. They wear their We Advance badges everywhere with pride and are so excited to be a part of We Advance.
Dawn said what an excellent manager Tina has been. She is on top of all the issues. She listens to the trainers and responds promptly. She has been keeping records of attendance, and when the classes are occurring. Tina has been sitting in on classes and correcting the trainers as needed to help them grow. During this, Tina has not only coached them, but most importantly earned respect from them.
The students are attending classes in great numbers. With only a loss of approximately 20% per course, considering the environment , that’s not a bad percentage.  Recently we have even had students from other programs signing up to take the 10 class course and paying out of their own pocket. We have stories of students stepping in immediately after accidents and injuries: taking control and saying, “stop, let me be in charge, I have been trained as a first responder.  I know what to do.”  One story had two students (not trainers) stepping in after a motorcycle accident in the street, holding off the crowds and the traffic, while they calmly took care of the victim.
The trainers are egar to learn more, and educate the students about Human Rights, Gender Roles, and GBV ( Gender Based Violence ). The students are excited, and ready to learn about these sensitive topics. Tina and Dawn drafted a pre and post test, to get quantitative proof that this program is in fact improving the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors. Dawn recommended We Advance to look for funding to expand this program, without any hesitation. A number of our trainers could be very good trainers for this expansion. Some are stellar.
Dawn will get back to us this week with a new update on how everything is going. Lets all continue to work together and stay positive!
Thank you,
We Advance Team

Malibu Fundraiser ~ June 9

Our June 9th fundraiser at a gorgeous estate in Malibu was a huge success. Thanks to everybody who came out to support us and raise money / awareness!  Check it out:

Life & Style 


Read more about the fundraiser and see some pictures here.




Politico Op Ed – Ritu Sharma

Our friend Ritu Sharma of Women Thrive Worldwide wrote this powerful Op-Ed piece for politico in April. Maria was on a panel for Women Thrive and is quoted in the article.  Read it here.

We Advance & Give Bag

We Advance is thrilled to announce it’s partnership with Give Bag! Purchase yours today – they sure are cute and good too! Press release below.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 3, 2012—South Florida based “The Give Bag” company has joined forces with Maria Bello, actress, activist and Co-Founder of “WE ADVANCE”.  The synergy between these two organizations is a fluid fit and the collaboration will provide exponentially beneficial results on a global scale. For every Give Bag sold, WE ADVANCE will receive a monetary donation that will be applied directly to their organization’s efforts in Haiti. The Give Bag, a trackable, infinitely reusable and “eco-chic” bag is dedicated to decreasing millions of tons of environmental waste across the planet.  WE ADVANCE’s efforts are focused on advancing the health, safety and well-being of women throughout Haiti. The alliance between these two socially and environmentally responsible organizations will provide much needed funds for the work of “WE ADVANCE” in Haiti. WE ADVANCE models an inclusive grassroots approach with a movement that collaborates with both other organizations and women from every socio-economic class. It is a rights- and community-based participatory program, empowering women’s minds, bodies and spirits and enabling them to discover their own needs and priorities, benefiting the entire community. WE ADVANCE brings in volunteer experts to train local community leaders in the aspects of health, safety and education.

“What a fabulous, simple way to make the world more interconnected and make a difference! WE ADVANCE is delighted to work with The Give Bag. What better way to spread our advocacy for women’s empowerment globally and support our programs for Haitian women than to partner up with a beautiful product that allows each and every one of us to help? We thank The Give Bag and Sara for their support. And we thank you for each donation that comes with your purchase,” explains Maria Bello, actress, activist and Co-Founder of WE ADVANCE.

“Since the inception of The Give Bag, we have been committed to supporting local, national and international philanthropies. The collaboration with We Advance was a natural fit on a multitude of levels. As a female owned business, we are devoted to empowering women across the globe.  This alliance will provide very tangible results for our fundraising efforts and we are honored to be working with such an amazing organization,” says Sara Starkoff Green, inventor and owner of The Give Bag.

For every Give Bag sold, a portion of proceeds will go directly to WE ADVANCE to support their efforts in Haiti. The Give Bag is releasing a new “We Advance” Give Bag tote that will be available Fall 2012. For more information, please visit or

Washington Examiner

Maria was interviewed by the Washington Examiner (click here to read) about her activism.

Maria on CNN

Click here to watch Maria on CNN. She had just returned from Haiti where she was a part of the Vital Voices & Bank of America’s “Haiti National Women’s Conference” and was about to be a panel member for Women Thrive in Washington, D.C.

December Trip with Farouk Shami and the Kardashians

Farouk Shami – owner of Farouk Systems (Biosilk and Chi hair products) generously offered to help fly a plane full of supplies to Haiti in December 2011.  Farouk also donated supplies to our clinic.  You can read more about the trip on the Farouk website here (including a press release about the trip), check out Maria and Kim Kardashian’s article to the Huffington post about the trip here, or view some pictures in the gallery.

Kim Kardashian: We Came to Haiti to Celebrate (Huffington Post)


Who knew a woman who runs around on TV with a gun and another who runs around in heels would have so much in common? We were brought together through a bizzare turn of events, and we discovered our mutual goal of empowering women using our own unique voices. We decided to journey together with Kris, Farouk Shami, Patricia Arquette, Suzanne Lerner, and a few of their friends to experience the Haiti that Maria has come to know and love through her organization, We Advance.

We Advance was started after the earthquake in January 2010, as a direct response to the increase in gender-based violence and poor health care for women in the poorest areas of the country. We Advance works with and represents the voices of over 40 micro-organizations working in the most desperate situations and communities in Haiti.

Our itinerary was to visit some of the small, grassroots NGOs that We Advance works with, including Artists for Peace and JusticeFemmes en Democratie, and Give Love, and to join women at the trade fair and fashion show in celebrating their achievements.

This is who we celebrated:

Danielle St. Lot: Danielle has been a women’s rights activist in Haiti for 35 years. She galvanizes women to stand up for economic, political, and social justice and equality with her organization Femmes en Democratie. She launched the women’s trade fair in Haiti this past weekend with women artisans and designers from all over the country to promote their products and to show their beautiful fashions. As a former Minister of Commerce, Danielle knows that it is through not only charity but creating employment that Haiti will rise.

Claudia Apaid: Claudia is the daughter of a Haitian entrepreneur, who went to an orphanage to give toys to kids for Christmas, and, seeing the appalling conditions that the children lived in, founded Sow a Seed in 2004. Sow a Seed is an organization that collaborates with partners with orphanages all over the country to give better care to their children. She threw a Christmas party this weekend for 500 orphans, many of whom experienced their first Christmas ever.

Barbara Guillaume: Barbara is a women’s leader, poet, singer, and co-founder of We Advance. She is running for mayor of Cité Soleil, the poorest slum in the western hemisphere, because, as she says, “If we can change the worst of Haiti, we can change all of Haiti.”

Caroline Sada: Caroline is a beautiful, 37-year-old powerhouse who grew up in Haiti and was educated in the States. She worked as a high-level executive with an international makeup company and left it all after the earthquake to come back and rebuild her country.

Sophia Martelly: Before becoming the First Lady of Haiti, Sophia dedicated her life and energy to people in need in the slums of Haiti. Now she will launch her country’s “12 by 12″ initiative in January, which will enable thousands of households run by single mothers to buy food and send their children to school.

We came to celebrate the thousands of Haitian women who are working tirelessly every day to bring economic and social justice to all people in Haiti. So to them we say: we are humbled and moved to have been with you and to tell the world about your grace. We are proud to tell the world your stories.

The mission statement of We Advance is, “We are stronger together than we are alone.”

We are grateful to partner with such amazing women and to have been on this journey together.

Please join the journey:

To read the full article on, click here or on the image below
We came to haiti to celebrate...

How Kim Kardashian Gave Back in Haiti (US Weekly)

We Advance kim kardashian & kris jenner in haiti 12132011









Forget about her messy love life. Kim Kardashian put the drama behind her for several days last week and over the weekend — when she and her mom, Kris Jenner, visited Haiti for a pre-holiday humanitarian mission.

In a new photo from Saturday, Kardashian, 31, and Jenner, 56, look on serenely with a local Haitian child (wearing colorful beaded jewelry and a “Spread the Joy” t-shirt) at an event.

The mother and daughter were visiting the impoverished nation — still rebuilding from the devastating January 2010 earthquake — as part of We Advance, the organization cofounded by actress Maria Bello.

Along with Bello, fellow actress Patricia Arquette and designer Donna Karanthe reality stars visited the Artists for Peace and Justice School, helped replenish supplies at We Advance clinics, checked out a fashion show launched by local women and designers and celebrated at the Sow a Seed Christmas bash, where 500 local orphans were treated with gifts. The final stop on the agenda: An intimate meeting with the President of Haiti, Michel Martelly.

According to its website, We Advance strives to “advance the health, safety and well being of women throughout Haiti,” working in “some of the poorest slums in all of the Western Hemisphere.”

Kardashian — in the midst of an ugly divorce from Kris Humphries — had an “amazing” experience on the mission, a pal told Us.

To read the full article on, click here or on the image below:

US Weekly Kim Kardashian Gave Back to Haiti