Rediscovering S(h)eroism in the World Pulse' Global Network

Stella Paul
Posted July 22, 2020 from India

Come September and I will clock 10 years as a World Pulse member. In these 10 years, I have been part of several great initiatives and events: a Voice of Our Future Correspondent, a World Pulse Live Tour participant, a Board member, A lead Ambassador and the Lead trainer. But the most rewarding experience has been that of an explorer who has traveled around the world, meeting Sheroes of this awesome community and discovering the great contribution they are making to make this world better. So, to celebrate completion of a decade, I am going to share the stories of a few over the next few days, starting today with  someone many of you know: Paulina Lawsin Nayra  of the Philippines.

 

I first met Paulina in 2011 - as a fellow Voice of Our Future (VOF) Correspondent. We had a monthly meeting of the class, but there were always technical challenges to battle: low internet speed, sudden power cuts, bad weather and so on. Still, somehow, we managed to read each others' posts, comment and connect on social media as well. And then, on March 7, 2019, we finally met in person, in her own home town Palo Alto (Tacloban), Philippines. 

We spent 3 days together which were full of exciting activities like celebrating the Women's Day, meeting a number of amazing women of her community - many of whom have since joined World Pulse -, meeting government officials and the most unforgettable of all - meeting a group of women who are participating in a great environmental conservation project : restoration of the Sab-e Leyte Peatlands. The peatlands, for the uninitiated, are one of the most important ecosystems on the earth because it is a huge carbon sink and is extremely crucial for combating climate change - the greatest challenge before humanity today. 

After my trip, I reported on this restoration project and you can read about it here: Island Women Take the Lead in Peatland Restoration

Here is the Spanish version of the story 

Now, Paulina introduced me to all these women who live in the peatland area, she facilitated our meetings where I could interview them, took me to show the peatland swamps and also introduced me to the members of WEAVERS - a network of women community leaders (that she leads) and how they are helping mobilizing the village women, arranging training for them and doing so much more. But she never, ever talked about her own role. She never ever said 'I am doing this' or 'I am doing that'. Its as though the world 'I' didn't exist in her book. And as a journalist who has traveled across the world meeting leaders of all kinds, this is such a marked departure from what I usually see : people doing very little in reality, yet would try to impress you with how much work they do. To put it very mildly, I felt a brand new level of admiration and love for this woman.

Fast forward to April 2020. Coronavirus had entered our world, turning it upside down. Like thousands others, my wings were also clipped and I was now forced to do all my work from home. And this is when my editor said, we want you to do a special story for the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15), focusing on the Philippines. Why Philippines? Because the country has been reporting a lot of elder abuse of late and had just brought in a new law to tackle this issue. 

So, in the next few days, I interviewed a number of people including a Senator (who has been instrumental in drafting the law), think tanks, academics, human rights defenders and elderly citizens. There was only one challenge: I could not find a single example of something good and positive happening with the elderly at the center of it. 

And that's when I thought of Paulina again. And lo and behold, she told me about an initiative where elderly citizens had been doing collectively growing food for sustainability and security. And as you may have guessed it by now, She was one of the people closely associated with these growers, providing them support on many levels. So, after hearing of them from Paulina, I was then able to interview one of these women through a fellow journalist who happen to come from that province and knew her.

And so the story -which you can read here was now complete with a flicker of positiveness instead of all doom and gloom. 

Now, many of you have have heard that the COVID-19 has increased the level of hunger by pushing millions of people back into poverty and making them food insecure. The World Food Program has just released a report on this as well. But even without reading any such report, it is not hard to understand that our economies are going through the hardest of our times. And in such a difficult time, everyone of us is looking for some positive solutions. For me, Paulina and the women she works with are bearers of that hope and positiveness. And today I want to take a moment to say to her 'Thank You'. Thank you Paulina for being the shero you are, for letting me know your story better and closer and finally and for letting me be your sister. May your tribe increase!  

 

 

 

Comments 11

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Happy 10 years anniversary on World Pulse, dear Stella!

Thank you for featuring Ate Pauline. She is an awesome shero indeed!

Stella Paul
Jul 26
Jul 26

Thank you my dear Karen. And Ate Pauline deserves all the honor and love we can give her. Writing about her took me back to the time all thee of us spent together - it feels just like yesterday! Hugs!

Dawn Arteaga
Jul 23
Jul 23

Wow Stella!! What a powerful tribute! Thank you for sharing this story. Your connection with Paulina brings so many waves of hope to the world. I’m so grateful for both of your leadership and sisterhood.

Stella Paul
Jul 26
Jul 26

Thank you dear Dawn! If someone asked me what would make me the happiest, I think my answer would be going around the world 365 days, meeting the women of this WP family :) Each meeting is so fulfilling in its own way!
Love

Dawn Arteaga
Jul 26
Jul 26

Yesssss! Me too! Let’s go!

Jill Langhus
Jul 24
Jul 24

Stella!

Welcome back! What a lovely post. Thanks so much for sharing and big congrats to you on your big, 10 year anniversary!!! Let's see what the next 10 years brings:-)

XX

Stella Paul
Jul 26
Jul 26

Thank you love! To be honest, it didn't feel like 10 years but just a few days! I would love the next 10 to be just the same, maybe a bit more eventful. Oh and it must include a meeting with you!
Love

Jill Langhus
Jul 27
Jul 27

You're very welcome:-)

Eventful how? Yaaaasss!!! :-)

XX

ARREY- ECHI
Jul 24
Jul 24

Happy 10 anniversary on World Pulse, dear Stella.

What a beautiful tribute for our Ate Paulina as Karen fondly calls her.

Thank you for celebrating anf honouring her and thank you for all you do to shine the light on sheroes! Looking forward to see what the next 10 decades bring.

Btw, I love the pic of you two.

Stella Paul
Jul 26
Jul 26

Thank you dear sister Arre Echi! Ate (means elder sister in Tagalog - the national language of Philippines) is indeed a woman who uplifts everyone around her - a characteristic that defines every World Pulse sheroes like you! Whatever the next decades brings otherwise, I am sure it would be full of inspiration :)
Hugs

ARREY- ECHI
Jul 29
Jul 29

Dear Sis Stella,
Thank you very much. Yes, I know Ate Means Elder Sister. Karen once told me.
It is truly inspiring to see many women uplifting others up.
With hope and courage as we take one day a time, we continue to look forward to the years ahead.
With love