this past week, i had the amazing opportunity to attend the AYA Summit with ONE Girls & Women in Washington DC at google. we heard from experts on issues that girls and women are facing in the developing world. the panels included discussions on issues like human trafficking, poverty, preventable diseases and vaccinations, sustainable business for women, child brides, and even ebola.
these are heavy topics, friends. after listening to one story after the other, regarding dark, and, let’s just call it what it is, evil things happening in the world it could seem to be rather hopeless. too dark. too much. if i’m honest this is how i’ve always felt. i want to help, i do give, i will share, but i can only take in so much dark. i’m the person that will change the channel or avoid the news if it is too much. sometimes its safer to keep your head in the sand. i’ve taken this ostrich approach in my very personal life and in issues of the world. but, this past week, after my heart immediately said yes to this opportunity, i unburied my head from the sand.
and, do you know what i found? light.
here are people that are on the front lines working in the dark, some having lived through palpable evil and yet they, themselves, are a shining light. we heard from Clementine, a survivor of the genoicde in Rwanda, living through things no 6 year old should ever even know about, yet after it all she shines bright with hope. palpable light.
during the summit, author Nicolas Kristof shared that he is always asked,
“how do you process difficult circumstances?”
his answer, “i’m reasonably upbeat not in spite of what i see, but because of it, and the progress i’ve seen.” he went on to share a story of a trip where he was interviewing a warlord in eastern congo who was out-shined by a polish nun (who stayed when all others left) feeding the children and negotiating with the warlord. the nun was the lasting impression of the trip (not the warlord). palpable light.
i think it is hard to face some of these issues because we feel so very helpless. what can i do? here is the thing i also learned this week. we can do something. but, i’m just a mom, i’m just a blogger, i’m just a wife, i’m just a student. yet, here is what we all have and can use, a voice. i love that ONE’s motto is, “we don’t ask for your money, we ask for your voice.” it starts with just sharing. one voice becomes a collective voice. and, sharing information, can put pressure on governments to share funding. really.
if you want to help or share your voice here is something i’m kindly asking you to consider sharing about:
GAVI a program that provides vaccines that saves millions of children’s lifes each year is needing to up funding for this life saving program.
all it takes is a simple tweet, facebook or instagram post to the White House:
@Whitehouse – Help save 6 million children’s lives by funding @gavi #AYAaction.
(and, ask your friends, readers, etc to share as well). here is a video on what GAVI is doing:
Thank you, ONE Girls & Women! You have my voice!