St. Louis woman helps women in West Africa, wants to start simil -

St. Louis woman helps women in West Africa, wants to start similar program at home

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Dawn Malcolm Dawn Malcolm
BALLWIN, Mo. ( -

Dawn Malcolm often pours through pictures of families she has forever changed in West Africa, one of the poorest regions on the continent.

"There’s no electricity and no running water, and everyone lives in a mud hut,” she said.

After attending a missionary conference in West Africa, Malcolm used her own money to start the non-profit organization called “Lighting the Path” in 2011.

"I did this on my own. I did this all by myself just because I had it on my heart to do it,” Malcolm said.

Malcolm teaches women in West Africa skills like sewing, weaving and most popular right now, making shay butter soap.  She then guides them how to run their own small business.

"The neatest thing is seeing the hope, the excitement in their eyes as this is a way to earn money, buy food for their children, buy medical care, or pay school funds so their children can go to school,” she said.

She makes the trip twice a year, staying for about a month each time, and she relies on local missionaries to help guide her to the right locations.  Malcolm's next mission is to start a parallel program here in St. Louis.

"Helping women who are homeless, marginalized, or struggling and teach them some sort of skill,” she explained.

Whether it’s making soap or screen printing, she wants to do anything to help women become self-sufficient.  However, that is going to take help.

"My main thing is finding a location because I can't do all of this out of my house."

Malcolm would love to have volunteers or partner with another non-profit organization with similar goals.  She just wants to experience in St. Louis what she has witnessed in West Africa.

“You see pure joy and hope in their hearts," she said.

Dawn was awarded the international 2016 Hero Award, voted on by a group of 13 Nobel Peace Laureates, including Desmond Tutu and Dalai Lama.

Click here for information on Lighting the Path or to get in touch with Dawn Malcolm.

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