The Clara Lionel Foundation, launched in 2012 by Rihanna seeks to improve communities in the areas of health, education, arts and culture on a global scale.
“When I think of my grandmother, I think of a very strong woman…very independent but the most caring. Very giving and very selfless. That’s why i’m here. She has battled cancer [and] passed away…I care about fighting this disease [and] giving people a chance…The foundation started when my late grandmother got sick.” – Rihanna (Founder of Clara Lionel Foundation), CLF Promotional Video
As detailed in the CLF Foundation Promo video on Youtube, she has since then partnered with other organizations to fight multiple causes:
UNICEF ($5.5 million dollars raised for HIV/AIDS Awareness)
DKMS to fight Leukemia (3,000 bone marrow donors found in a single night)
Hard Rock ($200,000 for CLF Education and Arts Programs)
As shown on the official Youtube promotional video(s) for the foundation, CLF has done work with the Oncology Department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados. In 2012, the existing radiotherapy machine was discontinued.
This was a huge problem because the patients didn’t have effective treatment. CLF purchased the Equinox External Beam Therapy System —the first modern radiotherapy machine in Barbados. Rihanna had the chance to talk with patients who were undergoing treatment using the new machine.
Samuel Bonnett, 79, was interviewed by CLF two years after he started treatment: “I think the treatment was quite good. I feel pretty good now, not like 25 but (chuckles), pretty good for my age, I would say.”
Rihanna wants to help other communities too: “Clean water…we’re going to start in Haiti [and] do eight wells in Haiti. Then we’re also gonna expand in Haiti expand…move globally and build some wells in Cambodia and Ethiopia.”
Her mother, Monica Fenty, a Board Member of the CLF Foundation stated (in an interview with CLF) that they also want to cover the arts and education: “The Barbados Government announced just this year (2015) that they’re no longer subsidizing fees for university. Rihanna was like ‘if I burn this situation, I would need help.'”
CLF has provided grants to primary and secondary schools, and announced that they will be providing college scholarships.
Students at Barbados want to go to college but say that unlike the United States, they only have one school, The University of West Indies, which is a great school but it has limited programs.
In an interview with Clara Foundation, one student said: “there’s not everything there that we can do. I want to study Behavior Analysis, if I want to do that, I can’t do it [here].”
Another student said that Barbados has great potential and that quality education can help it grow: “What excites me is that people can go out [and] leave Barbados. With a country that has so much potential, when we bring back those skills, it’s gonna be amazing.”
“We want college graduates in our program and a lot of these kids — they’re really smart and they’re doing really really well in school but they may not have the access or financial stability to take it any further than that…That’s why we started this program.” – Rihanna, CLF Promotional video
Rihanna is a woman who came from humble beginnings. She moved to America during her teen years, was signed to Def Jam at 16 and has achieved international success.
Clara Lionel Foundation’s Global Scholarship Program is giving students the opportunity to pursue an education. They will then eventually return to where they came from to help others, like how she used her platform to improve the quality of life for all.
For more information, visit claralionelfoundation.org