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Woman creates charity to ‘Sow Hope’ to women in third world countries

Posted at 3:30 PM, Jul 31, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-31 20:34:06-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., -- Mary Dailey Brown has a slew of photographs and pages in her passport documenting her extensive travels. She also has an incredible feeling of accomplishment knowing that her numerous trips are helping thousands of women and children living in extreme poverty in third world countries.

"I just feel like they need some help," explained Brown. "I'd like to let the rest of my life be dedicated to sort of making their lot in life better."

Brown, a photographer by trade, frequently traveled abroad for years. Her photos captured images that compelled her to do something to inspire and empower women.

"I was noticing this life that the women had. The poorer they were, the more difficult it seemed their life was... I would try to show their burden, and I would try to show their beauty."

Brown, also began asking questions. Soon after, she decided to create the non-profit SowHope. The name is inspired by the words of Francis of Assisi: "Where there is despair, let me sow hope".

Since it was founded in 2006, SowHope has helped more than 50,000 women in 15 different countries, where the women are making less than $2 dollars a day.

The group seeks out female leaders in the targeted communities, asking for ideas to help better the lives of women living there. SowHope will then fund projects that can help the women learn extra skills and make extra income to provide for their families.

FOX 17's Cassandra Arsenault got a first hand look at what SowHope does when she traveled with the group to South Sudan this spring.

"We just  encourage them to keep going," said Brown. "We just can't believe how helpful it is to help women...helping woman is helping children."

Brown has another trip scheduled for this Fall, which will include stops in Kenya and India.

As the July Pay it Forward Person of the Month, Brown will receive a $500 dollar check courtesy of Independent Bank.

To learn more about SowHope, or to donate, click here.

Do you know someone who FOX 17 should feature as our next Pay it Forward Person of the Month? Nominate them here.

Meet Julie Rodts, our June Pay it Forward Person of the Month.