FINCA Canada is proud to be expanding its Ambassadors program in 2019. This year, we have 18 ambassadors who will be supporting our efforts. We will be bringing you their perspectives over the year. Denise Shirazi is Editor in Chief, CNA Media Group Ltd and co-founder of several print and digital publications.
Over the years, I have worked with many exceptional NGO’s who are truly dedicated to making a positive difference in the world. FINCA’s programs benefit millions of people across five continents through financial inclusion and, they continue to seek new innovative sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest problems. Their entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to finding lasting answers to the struggles of the world’s poorest makes the decision to join the movement an easy one.
For me personally, the decision to join FINCA goes even deeper. As a young person, I did not understand how fortunate I was to be born in Canada. I did not appreciate that being Canadian offered me the beauty of education, the freedom of the right to vote, the strength of having access to health care and inclusivity for all. Now, as an adult, and more importantly a mother, I value these gifts, which I took for granted in my younger years. I truly understand and appreciate the difficulties women, (mothers) in impoverished countries struggle with every day.
While my husband and I have enjoyed entrepreneurial success, it was not without first experiencing failure. More importantly, the timing of our failed business was scary, as we were new parents.
I appreciate that a mother in a third world country and myself will take a different journey in life; yet, we both have the same goal: to bring up healthy, happy children. Now, I have an opportunity to change the life of a woman, a mother, her family and her community with FINCA. This excites me! I genuinely understand the dignities that can be lost when a parent struggles financially. Knowing that I can offer even one Mom a hand up, fills my heart’
Why do you feel the need to give back?
Truthfully, giving back feels good. Also, I believe giving back is one of the most important things an entrepreneur can do. Actual giving back is done without wanting or expecting anything in return but there is always return—the joy knowing you have made a difference is incredible.
How does financial access help empower women? Why should Canadians care?
Access to credit can open economic opportunities for anyone; the problem is that women face far greater difficulties gaining access to financial services than men. FINCA has changed this for many women in developing countries, but there is still a lot of work to do. I believe Canadians do care and that it is our job to spread the word about FINCA’s work, so that we can all have the opportunity to be a part of the solution.
What is important to you? What change do you hope to make in the world?
Making a positive difference in the world and inspiring my children to want to do the same, is everything to me.