Founder Heather Ibrahim-Leathers discovered a new career in philanthropy upon the passing of her grandmother in 2008. Eugine Awadalla was widowed in her mid-30s, with four young children, in a middle-class neighborhood in Alexandria, Egypt. As a direct result of her widowhood, Ms. Awadalla slipped into abject poverty overnight as her rights to inheritance were egregiously ignored by her brothers-in-law.
She was forced to sell what little remained after addressing the healthcare debts of her late husband, and was forced to take desperate decisions such as selecting only one of her children to educate. Ms. Ibrahim-Leathers realized in her grieving that this single event of widowhood destroyed the family, and all the generations that followed – the event of widowhood launched a vicious cycle of poverty.