One of my favorite holiday greetings was a reminder about the importance of gratitude. And all of us, no matter what challenges we face here at home, are remarkably fortunate in comparison to many of our sisters around the globe. This is the time of year (in America) when many of us decide to spend that extra Christmas cash on department store sales or other bargain "finds." But in the spirit of honoring remarkable Self-Empowered Women, I'd like to propose that we revisit some of the amazing women we've met on this blog, and donate a few shopping dollars towards helping them in their quest to help others. Geographically, I've found women who inspired me in a wide variety of countries - below is a thumbnail sketch of a few of the women whom I feel deserve our support:
Tererai Trent – ZIMBABWE (http://www.heifer.org/) This blog (http://marilynwillison.blogspot.com/2009/10/24-tererai-trent.html) was about a woman who lived in rural Zimbabwe, was forced to marry at age 11, and by 18 was the mother of three children. When a Heifer International representative visited her village, she encouraged Tererai to write her dreams on a piece of paper, bury it, and then dig it up once her dreams come true. She moved to Oklahoma with her husband when he came to America to go to college, and in 2009, Tererai received her own PhD, and decided to return to Zimbabwe to inspire others.
Ana Gonzales – CHILE (www.desaparecidos.org/chile/eng.html) This gray-haired grandmother, in her mid eighties, worked tirelessly to make the government of Chile acknowledge the crimes of dictator Augusto Pinochet. Her quiet, persistent efforts on behalf of families who lost loved ones ("The Disappeared") captured the world's attention and admiration. (http://marilynwillison.blogspot.com/2010/01/46-self-empowered-woman-in-santiago.html)
Mu Sochua - CAMBODIA (www.musochua.org/) This amazing woman was sent to California in 1972, because her parents were worried that the Khmer Rouge's genocide would put her teenaged life in danger. After she enrolled at San Francisco State University, she never heard from her parents - who were murdered in Cambodia - again. She returned to Cambodia in 1989, and has bravely worked to eliminate sex trafficking and domestic violence in Cambodia. (http://marilynwillison.blogspot.com/2010/04/57the-self-empowered-woman-mu-sochua.html)
Zainib Salbi IRAQ (http://www.womenforwomen.org/) The founder of Women for Women International, who grew up in Saddam Hussein's Baghdad, has made it her life's mission to help women war survivors around the world. She has distributed close to $50 million in micro loans and aid in countries from Bosnia to the Congo.(http://marilynwillison.blogspot.com/2009/09/22-women-for-women-international.html)
Xinran CHINA (http://www.mothersbridge.org/) This gifted author has written books and lectured on the radio to make as many people as possible aware of China's harmful "one-child policy," which was started in 1979 in an effort to control over population. Since many families choose to have only a son, countless baby girls are given away (or worse), especially among the poor. (http://marilynwillison.blogspot.com/2011/04/100-self-empowered-woman-xinran.html)
Looking forward to your comments...