This Short Film About How Technology Empowers Girls Will Give You All the Feels

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Contributed by Nate Hurst, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer, HP Inc.

In the last several months, the next generation of leaders have called for change in an unprecedented wave. They have used their voices to demand attention and change from the very highest echelons of power — and many of those voices have been female.

Today, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to recognizing the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world, HP is joining these voices in a call to action for accelerating gender equality. At HP, our goal is to amplify these voices and catalyze movements to create a future that is sustainable, inclusive, just, and collaborative — a future where every dream can thrive.

A dream realized

Great stories inspire action and help us imagine a better world. And on International’s Women’s Day, we are imagining a world where all dreams are possible with “Paro.” The short, powerful film follows a young girl’s journey as she discovers her passion for storytelling and finds the courage to pursue her dreams. It’s also a story about the power of a mentor — in this case a thoughtful teacher — as well as the role technology plays in helping her share Paro’s stories with the world. Shot in Kolkata, India, the film was produced by HP Studios. Paro was conceived to spark discussion about following your dreams and reinventing your story, no matter your background or where you are in the world.

Reaching further

Alongside the film, HP is introducing a range of social impact programs, rooted in the belief that technology can be a democratizing force in telling and sharing stories that matter.

Today HP and Girl Rising are announcing a community story-driven challenge designed to elevate voices around the world advocating for equality. The challenge – to share a personal story using technology – will run from April through June 2018, with winners announced on International Day of the Girl Child on October 11. Winners will receive micro-grants and access to mentors via HP and Girl Rising, enabling them to discover and define their own paths.

Producing and distributing “Paro” is just one of the ways HP is committed to driving meaningful conversations and social change. We are also launching “Stories of Advocacy,” a partnership with Women Deliver and its Young Leaders program leading up to the 2019 Women Deliver conference. Through this partnership, HP will provide support and technology to launch the young leaders’ advocacy platforms and spread change beyond their communities.

Additionally, HP is partnering with other organizations to enable young female leaders to drive lasting change in the world. In partnership with Disney, HP co-sponsored the “Warriors Who Code Challenge,” an all-day coding challenge with Black Girls Code. HP gathered prominent female voices in tech and filmmaking to inspire the next generation of leaders and celebrate the premiere of the film A Wrinkle in Time. HP is also teaming with NFL retiree Wade Davis, Gabrielle Union, the Ms. Foundation and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls for special screenings of the film during International Women’s Week in New York City.

Today, we are not only celebrating women who drive us forward, we’re empowering the next generation of female leaders. Join us in celebrating women’s achievements. Then, go further with us. Let us raise the volume on and play an active role in accelerating gender equality. Let’s create fertile ground for all dreams.

To learn more about HP’s International Women’s Week celebration, please visit:

This Woman Turned Her Passion for Food into a Thriving Business in Tunisia

This article was developed by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and published here with the approval of UNIDO.

Sonia M’Hamdi always enjoyed experimenting in her kitchen, so she decided to turn her passion into a business with the support of her husband. Her business Oulat Sabra, launched in 2017, offers a range of traditional condiments that are freshly prepared from a mixture of different spices.

“I gained my degree in International Trade at the ISET of Sfax in 2005,” explained M’Hamdi. “During a university course in business creation, I got the idea for a project that produces condiments to meet the needs of busy people who are looking to quickly and easily prepare high-quality meals.”

The idea soon became a passion for M’Hamdi and she gradually mastered her craft, trying out recipes on her close friends and neighbors. In her drive for perfection, M’Hamdi sought to differentiate her condiments based on their quality, using only the freshest spices and the finest ingredients.

Before launching her project, M’Hamdi contacted the Espace Entreprendre, a local institution that provides support services to entrepreneurs in the region.

“That’s when I heard about the Mashrou3i program’s HP LIFE training,” she said. “During the training I learned how to calculate the breakeven point in order to cover variable costs and fixed costs, and to determine the start-up costs of my business. It also taught me how to best market my products, to attract and respond to the needs of clients, and to identify ways to ensure the quality of my products.”

The Mashrou3i program, organized by UNIDO in partnership with USAID, the Italian Cooperation, and the HP Foundation, is designed to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship and offer tools that support fledgling business owners. Its mission is to create some 6,000 jobs and reach more than 25,000 aspiring and existing entrepreneurs in Tunisia over the next five years. In addition to mentoring and technical skills training, participants have access to HP LIFE, a free, online program of the HP Foundation, which features 27 interactive modules covering business and IT skills training in seven languages.

Besides benefiting from the HP LIFE training, M’Hamdi also received technical assistance from Mashrou3i experts who enabled her to finalize her business plan and facilitated access to finance to launch her business. As a result, she obtained a credit of 20,000 Tunisian dinars from a national bank for the rental of her business unit located in the city center of Sidi Bouzid and the acquisition of four grinders for the preparation of her condiments.

“The mentoring that I received from Mashrou3i really focused on the needs of my start-up and was crucial in allowing me to realize my project,” she said. “The coaching continued over time following my progress, and I was invited to join additional Mashrou3i trainings, like a group coaching workshop in order to improve my marketing skills.”

Through Oulat Sabra, M’Hamdi and her husband represent a new hope for young entrepreneurs in the region of Sidi Bouzid, as well as an added element of diversity in the sector of traditional condiment preparation.

“In the long term, I want to ensure the prosperity of my business by acquiring other grinders and a bagging weighing machine that will allow me to improve the packaging of my product range and its marketing,” M’Hamdi said. “After securing a better working capital, I will create two more jobs in my area and will invest in a car for delivery.”