Message from CEO of Merck Foundation, Senator, Rasha Kelej, on marking International Women Day 2022 through programs “More Than a Mother”, “STEM Program for Women”, and “Educating Linda” in Africa and Asia

Happy Women’s Day to all the women in the world and to the men who support and empower women. Empowering women is the spirit of everything we do at Merck Foundation, and it is part of my DNA as a woman who succeeded through the right support to be CEO of Merck Foundation and to be the most Influential African Woman in the world three times in a row and to be serving as a Senator at the Egyptian senate. Therefore I understand that women have tremendous potential to excel in any field they represent; however, they are deprived of a favorable environment to explore their true potential in many societies, especially in underserved communities. I believe there is a need to redefine the status of women in  society.

We, at Merck Foundation, through all our key programs, give special focus in supporting and giving equal opportunity for women to participate and benefit from those programs. For example, more than 559 out of 1200 scholarships are provided to female doctors by Merck Foundation to empower women in STEM and transform women health in Africa and beyond. Raising strong girls means empowering them for their future as strong women. We, at Merck Foundation, celebrate International Women’s Day every day by enabling these girls through education to fulfill their dreams and to reach their full potential through our “Educating Linda” and “More than a Mother“ Programs.

CEO of Merck Foundation, Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej with More than a Mother Heroines in Uganda

Moreover, with “More Than a Mother”, in partnership with 20 African First Ladies, we have initiated a cultural shift to empower women living with Infertility at all levels by raising awareness, supporting girls education, training more than 370 local fertility specialists and embryologists and  sexual and reproductive care specialists from 39 countriesand 2000 media representative from 20 countries with the aim to transform women health in Africa and developing countries. We have also built advocacy in partnership with African First Ladies through our social media with more than 4M followers, launched media, fashion, music and film awards; created 25 local songs and 6 children storybooks and supported many childless women in starting their own small businesses and provided 550 out of 1200 scholarships to female doctors  in many critical and underserved specialties and launched an annual award for Best African Female Researcher.

It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.

I would like to tell every woman to believe in herself and be confident at every step, in life. Passion, hard work, putting heart, soul & mind in everything is the success factor. Also, as I always emphasize, when you make it in life, do not forget to support other women around you.

Stay tuned to know more ….

Kind regards,
Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej
CEO of Merck Foundation
President of Merck Foundation “More than a Mother”
One of the most influential Africans in 2019,  2020 and 2021
African Woman of the year 2020 & 2021

CEO of Merck Foundation, Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej with infertile women during her visit to The Gambia
CEO of Merck Foundation, Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej with schoolgirls during her visit to Namibia
Jackline Mwende, Merck More Than A Mother Heroine from Kenya shares her story
CEO of Merck Foundation, Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej with infertile women during her visit to CAR

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