When women stick together they can accomplish tremendous things, this has never been more evident that that in the current social movement, Half the Sky (Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide).
The movement is based on the work of two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn with the goal of raising awareness of violence toward women via social media, television, books and even a Facebook game. The women they meet and write about have suffered through atrocities such as being sold into slavery and forced into marriage at ages barely past 10 years old. Throughout the world, many women have been denied education and basic human freedoms and they still persevere and hope by sticking together they will be able to bring awareness and positive change to the world.
Watching a clip from the website on a clinic that teaches Midwifery to young women in Somaliland, I was struck by the efforts being made by women to help each other in childbirth. The girls chosen must be educated; in Somaliland education translates into graduation from High School. They must be willing to study and train day and night for eighteen months. Despite looking no more than 16 or 17 years old the young midwives spoke of the need for medical care in their villages with maturity and compassion. They expressed a deep personal desire to make a difference and the pride they felt at their accomplishments could be seen in their smiles.
I was reminded of the Toni Morrison book Beloved as I learned about the efforts these women are making to help the mothers of their country. I thought about the heroine, Sethe giving birth to Denver in the woods as she fled to Ohio in search of freedom.
Worldwide statistics report that a woman dies in childbirth about every 90 seconds with 99 percent of the deaths occurring in Africa and Asia; a woman in the US has a 1 in 4,800 chance of dying while in parts of Africa the number rises to 1 in 22. The staggering difference in this ratio told me that even if the US no longer has young black women giving birth in horrific conditions, we still have it in the world. As a person I find this unacceptable, as a mother I find heartbreaking.
I have two sons, neither of which would have survived childbirth had proper medical care been unavailable to me. I urge every mother who reads this post to think about their own experiences in the delivery room and remember how many people were there. Then I ask that they imagine doing it all on a dirt floor with no running water, sanitation or medical help, pretty terrifying isn’t it?
Please follow the link at the top of the page and find a way to help, there are dozens listed. Involve your kids and watch their excitement. Kids love to be part of the big things…so I totally encourage letting them.
If you are not a mother or grandmother and even if you are a man…you can still help! Just saying….