Stephanie Moore quietly helped hundreds of women in Africa. In 2003, she called Anastasia Juma, the founder of OLPS-Neema, an organization for women with AIDS.
Juma later told Moore’s daughter, Nyla Rodgers, what Moore had said: “I want to help the young women in your community who are losing their parents to AIDS to become self sufficient. I saw a special about this on TV about how these women end up needing to take up prostitution to support their siblings and I want to help prevent this.
“You see I have a daughter and I hope that if anything happened to me she would be able to be self sufficient.”
Moore asked what Juma needed to further help the women. Juma dreamed of starting a program to teach these women how to run their own businesses.
Moore raised the money to start that program within a couple of weeks, and she continued to support it until she died of ovarian cancer in 2005.
But before she died, Moore told Juma that her only child, Rodgers, would carry on her support. Rodgers knew nothing about her mother’s philanthropy.
Rodgers and Moore were very close. As an only child raised by a single mother, Rodgers felt her mother was her whole family. When she found out about her mother’s promise, she saw an opportunity to turn her grief into a positive force.
“I wanted to give this left-over love to these people,” Rodgers said in the above video by Storytellers for Good.
Rodgers traveled to Kisumu, Kenya, to meet with Juma and with Bernard Olando, a young man in the same community whom her mother had sponsored.
As she arrived, a group of people welcomed her by singing “Amazing Grace.” It was the song sang at her mother’s funeral.
Olando recalled Moore’s kindness: “She had the heart to pay … for someone she don’t know. She only saw me on a photograph.” He went to school with Moore’s help and they exchanged letters over the years.
Rodgers started a non-profit called Mama Hope to carry on her mother’s dream, and it has impacted over 150,000 people in rural African communities.
“What we’re trying to do is let the community have the vision to plant the seeds of hope,” Rodgers said.
The organization helps people build sustainable projects. They start community gardens, teach women how to make crafts and run businesses, found schools, initiate water projects in desert locations, and more.
Rodgers said: “Because we’re all interconnected and we can help each other, we should.”