How one book can create change…

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but something that I have recently been a part of compelled me to write this post and share this with everyone.

At the end of last year, I read a book that really changed me and gave me a very intimate view into the life of women struggling in harrowing situations. The book was “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini. Now I’m sure many of you who have read it will agree with me that the book is simply brilliant.

Although the plot itself is fictional, many of the situations and emotions depicted were inspired by the author’s own firsthand experience of speaking with women in Kabul when he visited the city in 2003. He stated that ‘their life stories were truly heartbreaking’, but their ‘resilience’ and ‘incredible stories of survival’ made up ‘a good part of [his] inspiration’ for the novel.

After I had finished reading the book, it took a while for me to emotionally process what I had just read. In the end I knew I had to do something, so I researched a little bit about women affected by war and ways to help them. I came across a humanitarian organisation called ‘Women for Women International’ which helps women who have survived through war. I was drawn to this particular organisation because of it’s holistic approach in the aid it provides.

Women for Women International allows sponsors to pay a monthly contribution to fund a ‘sister’ for one year as she completes a year of education in a business course.  This course will equip her with the skills to start her own business upon completion. But it doesn’t stop there, throughout the year she and her family will learn about health, nutrition and and their human rights. Women will not only be skilled but also empowered to make change in their own lives and their communities too.

As the famous proverb goes, ‘Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’.

I have added in a video from the website, explaining what the organisation offers and here is the link to the website (where the image accompanying image for this article is also from) if anyone is interested in finding out more, or even sponsoring a sister of their own :  http://www.womenforwomen.org/

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, hopefully I will be able to post more frequently now too!

xx

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Girls Do Science

Interesting read! I completed a Bachelor of Science myself 🙂

Mind Wonder

In “Girls Do Science,” a video from Microsoft released for International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we hear from young girls who like science – a lot. But in some cases, they already feel discouraged from pursuing it because of the stereotype that science is more for boys than girls. Seven out of 10 girls are interested in science but only 2 in 10 will pursue it as a career. “I built a garage door opener and I’m working on my own website,” says Anya, one girl in the video. Then she is handed a letter from Microsoft. “Dear Anya, Keep opening those garage doors. Our doors will always be open for you.” Also this week, “Big Dream,” an inspiring film about seven young women breaking barriers as they follow their passion in the STEM fields, was shown at South by Southwest Education (SXSWedu), a spinoff of…

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A voice for the voiceless

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When I first came across this poster I was struck by its creativity and impact. The voices of many women globally continue to be left unheard while others decide their lifestyle and futures. I have touched on many issues where women and girls have faced distressing circumstances like child marriage, FGM, acid attacks and death. It is up to us to stand up for these women and set the wheels in motion, giving them the strength to move forward on their own.

This poster was created by the very talented Mark Retzloff whose original post can be found at http://markretzloff.com/portfolio/print/doing-justice-becoming-a-voice-for-the-voiceless/

For more of his brilliant work, visit http://markretzloff.com/

XX

Attacked by acid for ‘looking at a boy’

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She turned.

It was him.

Soft eyes.

Ruffled hair.

It was quick.

A glance.

He smiled.

She looked away.

 And in a flash it was over.

The beginning of what sounds like a typical teenage summer romance novel had a very frightening ending for young ‘Anusha’. The fifteen year old girl was doused in acid by her parents for the crime of ‘looking at a boy’, who rode past on his motorcycle. The girl suffered burns to 60% of her body and was shamed for bringing ‘dishonour’ to her family.

Acid Crimes have been ongoing in some parts of the world and victims are predominantly women. It has become such a global issue not only for the implications on women’s physical health but also mental wellbeing. The facial disfigurement and subsequent shunning experienced by women render them vulnerable and voiceless in countries where women are already treated as second-class citizens.

We all remember Dana Vulin, the Perth beauty who was brutally attacked by the jealous girlfriend of a boy she met at a New Years Eve Party. The shock and outrage by the public and the sheer amount of support she received helped Dana to make a remarkable recovery, both physically and emotionally. She was such an inspiration and her story gave us so much hope.

The thousands of women who are being attacked by acid across the globe have no one to hear their voices, no supporters, no means of recovering; they are condemned to a life of shame for the crimes others have committed. Their attackers walk free.

By sharing stories like Anusha’s we can do our part in raising awareness and working towards a society where justice will always be served.

XX

Why is it so hard to see black and blue?

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The Salvation Army has skilfully repurposed the worldwide  ‘white and gold’ or ‘black an blue’ debate, and used it to bring a very important issue to light.

The dress which caused much confusion and light-hearted dispute across the world is now the centre of their campaign against domestic violence. If you ask me, whoever thought of this is ingenious. The poster features a woman wearing the ‘white and gold’ version of the dress with bruises on her body depicting signs of physical violence. The campaign expertly uses the popular dress to draw our attention and give us a metaphorical push back down to Earth as we realise that while we are caught up in friendly banter, women – too many-  are experiencing this right now. 

Many women make exceptions for their husbands or partners, and many are too afraid to take a stand. They worry about their children and succumb to the expectations of society. Breaking free is often harder than enduring each moment of abuse. It’s a delicate issue that must be dealt with carefully and urgently.

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A deathless death – child brides

Soft cries muffled by mother’s sweet voice,

Angry tears shadowed by the crowds rejoice,

The man stands tall, so proud of his choice,

The little girl, dressed in red and turquoise.

Forced marriage of young school- aged girls is a reality around the world; across many cultures and religions.

Putting issues of economic stability and societal implications aside, the mere fact that these girls are only children should be reason enough to let them stay in school. Let them learn and play games – let them experience childhood.

These children, who are forced to pose as wives to middle aged men, really make my skin crawl. Their rightful place at school is snatched away from them. The opportunity to learn and have the freedom to choose who to marry and when to marry – stripped from them.

Aren’t these girls human just like us?

Where are their rights?

Let’s raise awareness and pray for change, so that they too can experience life the way it is meant to be experienced.

XX