Education and empowerment at home and abroad

Chauvin, after having volunteered for humanitarian projects in Africa, is now helping Tanzanian women create microbusinesses through her nonprofit called Her Best Foot Forward. (COURTESY LAURA CHAUVIN)

Chauvin, after having volunteered for humanitarian projects in Africa, is now helping Tanzanian women create microbusinesses through her nonprofit called Her Best Foot Forward. (COURTESY LAURA CHAUVIN)

 

Laura Chauvin, BS’87, has a heart for helping others. And as a human and organizational development major while at Vanderbilt, her interest in humanitarianism flourished.

“The opportunities provided to me as a student were life-changing,” Chauvin recalls. “Because of generous donors, I had an amazing experience.”

During her time on campus, she founded Vanderbuddies, a tutoring organization serving youth in Nashville’s low-income communities, and participated in other service initiatives. “After graduating, I knew I wanted to pay it forward,” she says.

While working on a clean water project in Tanzania, Chauvin was awed by the beadwork sandals created by the Maasai women there. Wanting to help them turn their skills into possibilities, she founded Her Best Foot Forward. Through this nonprofit, Chauvin arranges production facilities where the artisans can create their sandals, and invests the profits in projects that facilitate her two passions: empowerment of women and the education of girls.

“Our next venture is to expand production to include sanitary pads. This will create microbusinesses for Tanzanian women, and the products will be provided to schools for free,” Chauvin says. “Girls in that region miss around four days of school per month because they don’t have access to basic hygiene products. By bringing this technology to Africa, we can help girls stay in school.”

When Chauvin read about Vanderbilt’s second annual Giving Day, which took place June 15, she knew she wanted to get involved. “I offered to send a pair of sandals to every Class of 1987 alumna who made a gift to Vanderbilt on Giving Day,” she says. “Our class ended the day with 90 total donors—59 women and 31 men. I can’t wait to tell the artisans that their work is admired by so many of my classmates.”

A total of 5,938 Vanderbilt alumni and friends gave back on Giving Day, raising more than $2.6 million in 24 hours for scholarships, new programs, resources for student organizations and much more.

Chauvin is a dedicated Vanderbilt volunteer and supporter who is recognized by the Oak Leaf Society, and she looks forward to attending her 30th Reunion this fall. “Vanderbilt is a university that continues to amaze, inspire and provide the best for its students,” she says proudly. “I give back in tribute to all that it gave and continues to give me.”

Through her generous giving to Vanderbilt and her work in Africa, Chauvin is changing the world. “Vanderbilt and Her Best Foot Forward have something in common,” she concludes. “The ultimate goals are education and empowerment. We share those.”

—JULIA STUMP



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  • larry654561

    As human we need to come ahead to helps the poor people and confirm their education in here. There are so many people are have more money and they can helps them so more.