I often encourage people to tell their stories. Last night, I was lucky enough to be in the presence of some fantastic women who had wonderful stories to tell. An organization called World Pulse had brought to the USA three women who are leaders in their communities in Cambodia, Colombia, and Uganda, and taken them on a five city tour, to share their experiences with people and organizations that may help in their struggles, culminating in a visit today to meet staff at the White House.
World Pulse is encouraging women worldwide to share their stores, mainly through writing online journals. The stories the three visiting women told briefly of how they have tried to overcome incredible personal and social odds to get education, overcome claims on land, or survive in a world dominated by drug cartels, are riveting and inspirational. The stories also testify to the supportive power that came from having a place to share experiences and seek support.
The individual progress each woman made has been multiplied by the impact their examples have had on a wider group of people with whom they live and work. We often hear talk about empowering women, but do not have any good idea of how hard that can be in societies that have many structures in place to either hold women back or actually push them down. Whatever we can do to help reduce or eliminate such obstacles should make the world better and fairer for all of us.
An important part of the story-telling that is going on through World Pulse is the use of interactive technology, and shows some of the really good uses that can come from the various platforms that allow social networking. Nothing new really needs to be built, but the purposes of some of social media and networking software can be better directed.
I wont try to summarize here the stories I heard last night, but the profiles of Beatrice Achieng, Martha Llano, and Sarvina Kang are really worth reading. They epitomise in many ways what “Yes, we can” and “Change” really can mean.