The quick version is that our founder, Laurie Ellen, a sheltered Orange County, CA girl, took a job in South Sudan with a large international-aid organization. While there she learned A LOT about sexual exploitation in the developing world - forced marriage, trafficking, you name it. But it all became REALLY REAL when a young South Sudanese woman Laurie Ellen had sponsored for college was almost sold by her own father into a forced marriage. And why? you ask, dolla-dolla bills, ya'll. The young woman was able to escape, got herself to Uganda, and the two of them, Laurie Ellen & our Unnamed-For-Her-Own-Protection-Friend, decided they needed to do more for women who had survived similar exploitation. And so, out of a VERY VERY SCARY experience, Becoming a Cupcake was born. We now work with Willow International, who rehabilitates women who have been rescued from sexual exploitation, through Willow the ladies get counseling and skills training to help heal their hearts and expand their capabilities. With start-up stipends, sponsorship, and business mentoring, we help survivors take the next step towards independence.
And Our Board? Laurie Ellen asked some of her former Ugandan colleagues (and, ahem, friends), life-long aid workers in East Africa, to join the board and help ensure Becoming a Cupcake is addressing issues in a Ugandan-appropriate style. And then there's finance and strategy, which is where one of Laurie Ellen's best friends from college/her international travel buddy comes in.