While particular dreams can often seem very far away and unreachable, the Women of Denver know that hard work, persistence, and the inability to give up pay off tenfold. Sometimes this requires putting your head down and pushing through to the other side or embracing faults that others see as weaknesses.
As the founder and director of Global Orphan Prevention, Katie Hilborn is no stranger to reaching deep to achieve her dreams and goals. Katie has dedicated her life to saving the world's forgotten and overlooked children, and here shares the inspiration and motivation that drives her in her global crusade.
What do people often thank you for?
For inspiring them to get out of their comfort zones and use their passions to create positive change within our world. And most importantly, to become changemakers; people who essentially can turn complaining into action. Every problem has a solution as long as we work towards forward planning and moving from a space of being reactive towards a space of being responsive.
What's been inspiring you lately?
I've been inspired to keep trudging through and follow my dreams while being faced with adversity. I know that my work is way too valuable and way too impactful to do anything else. What's driving me needs to be my highest priority, and as long as I continue to live as my authentic self (which can be a challenge), I know I can continue to fulfill my life's purpose.
What do you love most about Women of Denver?
I love how these women are coming together to share successes and support each other on our journey. Every time I attend an event, I'm instantly connected with a plethora of women who I can collaborate and join forces with. The magnetism is unreal. I truly believe that we're seeing a global shift in consciousness on each of the six continents I've been. Humanity, particularly women, are waking up to their full power and true potential. Groups like WOD are vital to keep this momentum in full swing.
What unique impact do you make on the world through your work?
As the founder of Global Orphan Prevention, I've strived to keep mothers and children together. Our two realms deal with the orphan trade and child sex trafficking. Did you know that 80% of children in orphanages have been stolen from their families and 1.2 million children are trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation annually?
We find the root causes of both issues are lack of finances, which contribute to illiteracy, poverty, and disempowerment. Children are often lured and families manipulated into giving up their kids, with promise of jobs or schooling.
Once the children leave the village, they’re sold to brothels for prostitution or orphan homes who profit from international adoption. Therefore, our solution is to invest in business opportunities for at-risk families so that they can take matters into their own hands.
Tell us about a recent accomplishment you're proud of?
I was recently awarded as runner-up for Millennial Changemaker of the Year for my work surrounding the 2015 Nepal earthquake. We found that 19 girls had gone missing in the first month following the earthquake and through investigative work, discovered they'd been sold to India for prostitution. In 2016, we established a microsavings and microfinance program in partnership with NMB Bank setting up a 20-member women's empowerment group who have been learning to save their money and invest in business opportunities. They are using the profits to empower their daughters with an education and themselves with financial freedoms. I returned to this same village in November 2017 and found that since the inception of the program, zero girls have been taken.
What actions do you take to support and empower other women?
I empower women in developing countries by helping them gain financial freedom through microsavings and microloan programs. Microfinance provides banking services to the poor who normally can’t qualify.
Investing in female entrepreneurs ensures a greater success and payback rate. Investments in women extend to the world around them. Women don’t just pay back microloans, they pay them forward!
They know how to utilize money, resources, and ideas with wisdom and creativity to make better choices. Women are proven more likely than men to share the rewards of microfinance and put their income back into their families and communities, driving illiteracy and mortality rates down and GDP up.
Although women make up 43% of the agricultural labor force and are less likely to own land, when women do own the same amount of land as men, there is over a 10% increase in crop yields.
What else would you like our readers to know about you?
I'm only human and make mistakes. I might seem like I have my life in order on paper, but at the end of the day, I'm still vulnerable. I still have my ups and downs, and I'm learning that it's okay. Without darkness, I believe we can never experience true happiness. That's the irony, isn't it? We all have this shadow side that we try to oppress. But I'm learning that we need to own it. I wouldn't be who I am today without it. It's what makes me.
Get in Touch:
LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/katiehilborn
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/katie.hilborn
Instagram Handle: https://www.instagram.com/katie_hilborn