Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation Addresses Health and Education


SEATTLE — Research has shown that children who live in impoverished conditions are less likely to complete their schooling. As a result, they are qualified for fewer jobs and earn a lower income. The Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) aims to improve and increase the number of young people that complete their schooling, including higher education. In addition, CLF aims to better health and emergency response conditions so that health issues do not have to be a factor in not receiving an education.

Background of the Clara Lionel Foundation

The Clara Lionel Foundation was founded by Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty in 2012. This foundation was created in honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. After her grandmother Clara passed away from cancer, Fenty began the organization to decrease cancer mortality rates in Barbados.

The mission statement of the Clara Lionel Foundation has four parts addressing different inequalities that exist. It advocates for the right to education, as it is a tool against injustice and inequality. Equally as important is the right to health, as it is crucial to happiness and productivity. CLF also advocates for improving and increasing the number of emergency response programs around the world. Finally, Fenty believes that the voices of the younger generations are crucial to change, so one of the main goals of this foundation is to improve the quality of life of young people globally.

One goal of the Clara Lionel Foundation is to increase the number of young girls enrolled in secondary school. Each additional year of school a girl completes increases her expected future income by 20 percent. Education and poverty are linked in that when one lives in poverty, they may leave school so that they can work, depriving them of literacy and numeracy skills and decreasing their chances of a future career.

Efforts Target Schools and Students in Barbados

The foundation has created and supported other projects and programs such as the Clara Lionel Foundation Scholarship Program, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and the Barbados Micro Grants Program. These projects ensure continual investment in the goals of the mission statement, which are education, health and emergency response.

The CLF Scholarship Program targets young adults who come to the United States from countries such as Brazil, Barbados, Cuba, Haiti and Guyana that have been accepted into a four-year college or university in the United States. The students are granted the CLF scholarship once the college or university confirms that they can receive scholarships from CLF.

The Clara Braithwaite Center for Oncology and Nuclear Medicine at Queen Elizabeth Hospital provides access to cancer screening and treatment that is not readily available in Barbados. So far, CLF has donated three pieces of equipment to the hospital. Additionally, it has given two incubators to the pediatrics department.

While the CLF Scholarship Program is available to students of various countries, the Barbados Micro Grants Program is exclusive to those in the Barbadian educational system. This program provides grants directly to schools that promote academic achievement, health and development. So far, the program has impacted five schools in Barbados.

Partnerships Help the Clara Lionel Foundation Have a Larger Impact

The foundation also works to bring in other brands to help raise awareness, such as Puma, Dior, and oFo. In collaboration with Puma, Fenty’s line Fenty PUMA donates a portion of the profits from sales to CLF. Fenty also uses her own brands, such as Fenty Beauty, to advertise the foundation and help raise awareness and funds for it.

CLF has a partnership with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). GPE currently supports more than 65 developing countries, ensuring that every child has access to a basic education. They target the poorest and most vulnerable within those societies. In 2016, Fenty became an ambassador for GPE.

CLF has projects based in various countries, such as Barbados, Senegal and Malawi. It utilizes its Instagram page to show the progress of its projects globally and give viewers the opportunity to meet and get to know some of the students.

By using her organization to build goals around health and education, Fenty has built an array of support around these issues. By working with cosponsors such as Dior, there is more awareness being spread and therefore more action being taken. An organization like CLF can help turn around the lives of the impoverished and undereducated.

– Jessica Ramtahal
Photo: Flickr


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