lighting the path

News and Updates

News

Knowledge is Power

Town and Style Magazine

November 4, 2019

We’re all very familiar with the old adage about teaching a man to fish. No matter how many times you’ve heard it, the message is still a powerful one. Knowledge is one of the greatest gifts we can give to those needing assistance, and that’s the idea behind Lighting the Path. The St. Louis-based nonprofit works to create sustainable solutions to enrich the lives of those living in poverty. It pairs education with skills and business training to empower marginalized populations at home and abroad.

Lighting the Path was founded by Dawn Malcolm. After helping at a missionary conference in the west African country of Burkina Faso, she was given the chance to visit a local village. “I was amazed at how happy and welcoming the people were, but I could see that they needed help,” she says. At first, she wasn’t sure what she could do, but during a return visit, inspiration hit while helping women weave mats. She realized she could use her business experience to help the community support itself.

“There are many organizations that do a fabulous job bringing food and health care to disadvantaged regions,” Malcolm says. “I knew I needed to do something different, and that’s where the empowerment piece came in. The idea is that once they could make something to sell, it could turn into a sustainable source of income.” The nonprofit started with teaching girls in an orphanage how to sew, and it quickly introduced other skills like cooking and weaving.

Malcolm wanted to use Lighting the Path to help people in St. Louis as well, so the nonprofit offers sewing lessons and classes about starting a small business to help local refugees, immigrants and other underserved groups. She says sewing is a skill that is in high demand since the local fashion industry is being revitalized.

Currently, she is working on expanding the organization by finding a dedicated building to hold classes. “When we help people help themselves, we improve our region as a whole,” she notes. “Our goal is to benefit people from all walks of life and elevate society into a better, more peaceful coexistence.”

In 2016, Malcolm received the Hero Award from the One Billion Acts of Peace campaign, a global movement led by 14 Nobel Peace Prize laureates. “It was such an honor and very humbling,” she says. “It’s one of those things that validates what you are doing as something good and positive. My purpose is to empower people. It’s not a handout, but a hand up.”

Pictured at top: Dawn Malcolm with Marie Zanga of Burkina Faso, who started a sewing business with help from Lighting the Path

 

 

Project Updates

Small Business School Classes on hold

Small Business School Classes on hold

We are looking at options for Lighting the Path to offer additional business classes to assist people who would like to learn how to start their own small business. With COVID and restrictions, we are not doing classes at this time, but will resume at some point....

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The Women’s Aid Fund

The Women’s Aid Fund

The Women's Aid Fund was established when one of the women we were working with needed a prosthetic arm.  There was no way she could afford this and we saw that this would make a huge difference in her quality of life.  Medical and special needs hinder the quality of...

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Stories and Reflections

The Story of Benkadi

The Story of Benkadi

In the village of Kimini in remote Burkina Faso women have been empowered and their lives are forever changed for the better.  Lighting the Path has educated the women in business and production skills to form a small enterprise.  They learned how to make...

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Yaya’s Story of the Walker

Yaya’s Story of the Walker

You do not always see the benefit of your work, but sometimes you do get that joy! In my experience, most times in life you let God lead and you follow trusting that you are doing His will and other rare times it becomes so obvious that God used you for a specific...

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THANK YOU FOR JOURNEYING HERE

THANK YOU FOR JOURNEYING HERE

It is 9:30 am and already close to 100 degrees with the hot sun beating down.  We shade our eyes to watch our foot placement as we walk the rough dry terrain of the paths to the remote huts where the people live which make up the members of the village.  We...

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THE FEET OF A WOMAN NAMED POKO

THE FEET OF A WOMAN NAMED POKO

Venturing out to the villages in Africa reminds me of the scriptures describing Jesus and the disciples walking from city to city.  You are walking in the hot sun with little or no water available.  The hot wind blows dust and sand into your eyes and it...

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Future Projects

Creating Rainbows in the Dark

This project is for the visually impaired populations in the villages. UPDATE 11/28/17 - Research is underway to teach eye health and hygiene practices, nutrition to improve vision and provide glasses and medical care for the visually impaired. Resources are so few in...

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The Moringa Tree Project in Kimini

11/18/20 Update - Due to the terrorist activity in Burkina Faso, travel to the region is banned and this project is on hold. 11/2/17 Update - Still looking to acquire land11/16/15 UPDATE - Three additional water wells were drilled in Kimini at the end of March!!! The...

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St. Louis Projects

Lighting the Path is exploring locations to set up programs to better serve those in the St. Louis region.  We are looking to find a building to rent or purchase and offer services to the community. We welcome partnerships with others who would like to join us in our...

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