What Can 100 Years Do?
They perform 66% of the world’s work, earn only 10% of its income, and own only 1% of the world’s property. The girl child has been unofficially dubbed as being endangered due to infanticide, sexual exploitation and statelessness. And yet, the world not only needs women for obvious reasons, the world needs women because of the diversity, the hope and the compassion they bring.
Today, March 8th, is the one hundred year anniversary of International Women’s Day. The cause started much before that date so many years ago, and we live today in the freedom of what others fought and stood their ground for. In honour of today, I would like to introduce you to some of the incredible women we have worked with around the world: young and old, rich and poor.
I wonder how you could ever even count how many single mothers there are out there? Their courage is daunting and their resolve is inspiring. Women like Sandra, a single mother of 5 children in a tiny, impoverished community along the shipping docks of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Sandra decided that poverty would not define her, her children and her community. Together with other women and men, they have rallied their community to believe in something more: a school, a medical clinic, a community cooperative, a girls’ club to educate and keep girls off the streets, and even giving their community an official new name to help re-define what they are becoming: New Birth. Happy International Women’s Day, Sandra.
Kru Nam’s courage and fierce passion for justice has resulted in hundreds and hundreds of children and women being freed from sexual exploitation and blinding poverty. This compassionate and courageous woman has rallied people from around the world, including LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute), to join her in a small, non-descript community in Northern Thailand that is a powerful tool against the evils of trafficking. Happy International Women’s Day, Kru Nam.
Mikaela has inspired many of our Hero Holiday staff and participants in Mexico when we consider the heavy load she carries and the strength it takes to put one foot in front of the other each day. Her young daughter, Jessica, is wrestling with cancer, and each day Mikaela goes to her shop and does her best to sell enough to make sure her daughter gets proper food, education, and a childhood. As I stood in the yard in front of her house that we helped to build for them, I realized how much respect her community had for her, and how much I had learned from her. Happy International Women’s Day, Mikaela.
There are so many girls in our high schools across Canada that we have met, we have listened to, and at times we have cried with. Sometimes all they have needed was someone to believe in them. There are so many amazing young women in our nation that it makes us in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) hopeful that we are building something worth fighting for. Our LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) staff and our Hero Holiday program is full of young women who choose each day to be a light, a voice and tangible hope – despite what the personal costs may amount to. I have the privilege of working beside young women who have experienced everything from sexual abuse, terminal illness, violence and abuse, and innumerable personal challenges and yet they choose, each day, to continue to focus on what they can do to be a part of the solution to what they see around them. To all of you, Happy International Women’s Day.
We have met many incredible women throughout Haiti in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)’s work there. Many of them have loved much and lost much – some even have lost their own lives. Today, in honour of the memory of the women we have said good bye to there since January 12, 2010, Happy International Women’s Day.
“As a woman, I have no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.” ~ Virginia WoolfJoin us this year in one of the countries we work in through our Hero Holiday program: www.livedifferent.com