I’ve networked all my adult life. I spent my professional life teaching the poor how to work with me in the restaurant industry. I was successful in this through collaboration with a non-profit organization that existed to place people willing to work in entry-level jobs. I insisted on greater than minimum wage for all who worked past their 90-day orientation period. For my efforts to protect the dignity of the adults willing to work, I was, more than once, fired.
Upon retirement from working for a wage, I became a full-time volunteer, helping homeless USA families become stabilized through rent interventions and employment-skills training. The Clinton era Welfare-to-Work program created a need for this type of effort. I, as volunteer coordinator, was successful through collaborating with strong women in the community. Sadly, the agency for which I labored was destroyed, along with my home and community, by Hurricane Katrina.
In moving, with my husband, to the rural mountains of Appalachia, I was able to collaborate with several non-profit agencies and individuals, but I didn’t find a permanent niche for my passions until I found World Pulse. I am unable to physically fulfill my dream of traveling the world because of my husband’s precarious health and need for specialized care. Through World Pulse’s citizen journalism, I am able to see the faces and hear the voices of female leaders telling of grassroots initiatives around the world.
Urmila in India works two jobs to earn the wages to support her menstrual hygiene education initiative, Breaking the Silence. She pays her own way to take it all over India and into Africa, both areas where girls are denied education and community contact when they are experiencing their monthly menses. Urmila also provides sanitary protection donated by hundreds of those in her network. Her goal is now to replicate the menstrual hygiene education program around the earth. She is making great strides in this area. https://www.facebook.com/urmila.ch
Sharon of the UK makes washable sanitary pads, and asks for donations for posting them to women around the world. She sews, and her husband attaches snaps. Not only does she do the work, she is using her efforts to further interfaith cooperation, recently inviting her Muslim sisters to participate in a lesson on how to make the FEMpads with a group of Quaker women. They shared food and faiths, as well as FEMpad instruction. https://www.facebook.com/sharon.multani/.Sharon’s FEMpads are some of those distributed by Urmila.
Olutosin of Nigeria knows, first hand, about being an abused spouse. This is her impetus for Tosin Turn Trash To Treasure, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tosin-Turn-Trash-to-Treasure-5T/217838454976754?fref=tsreflecting the program’s use of recycled materials and the changes to the women’s perceptions of themselves when they stand up for their own human rights. The cooking bags that her students make from recycled materials help save fuel and decrease the dangers of open fire cooking.
Olutosin is a crusader against female genital mutilation, and is using the citizen (grassroots) journalism skills learned through World Pulse to create a documentary on this issue that adversely affects maternal and child mortality in so many areas of Africa. She seems to be everywhere in Nigeria at once, empowering women with every kind of education that is possible. One day she is teaching how to make energy-saving cooking bags from recycled materials and the next she is instructing women on addressing domestic abuse through empowering themselves and standing up for each other.
Olutosin’s women and girls have been recipients of Sharon’s generosity, and Tosin is now teaching Nigerian women how to make their own washable sanitary protection. https://www.facebook.com/olutosinThey alsomake crafts, and sell them to support themselves and the programs.
I have a special place in my heart for teachers, as both my daughter and daughter-in-law have chosen this as their profession. Phionah in Kenya and Sister Zeph in Pakistan are stellar examples of the passion for empowerment through education. Each of them created schools without waiting for funding. They simply saw a need not being addressed and filled it with the strength of their own beliefs and funding from their outside employment. Both Phionah’s The Centre for Disadvantaged Girls https://www.facebook.com/Phyms/ and Zephania’s Free Education https://www.facebook.com/Zephaniahacademy/ incorporate technology literacy training, and include ways to access STEM curricula through the internet.
Phionah’s classes include folk crafts and entrepreneurial skills. Sales of their work help to support the school.
Sister Zeph has created a Facebook page to honor women who have arisen from the depths of despair caused by abuse and other issues of inequality around the earth. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Women-of-the-World-We-Rise/ We are also using it to solicit donations of sky miles to bring these leaders to the first-ever women’s initiative at 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions, to which I am an ambassador. https://www.parliamentofreligions.org
Tamarack https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008452390334&fref=ts/ and Naomi https://www.facebook.com/naomi.levitz, both in Canada, keep us alert about opportunities to help each other.
What binds all of these women is that we are each doing our heart’s work of empowerment through education with wages earned in other jobs, and we are all active members of World Pulse and Facebook. Is there any greater way to bond than through sharing our passion for our missions, our Spirit work, supported by our paying jobs?
The messages and merchandise of my World Pulsefamily will be brought to the Parliament of the World’s Religions in October. It is important that the religious leaders around the world hear stories of how archaic religious rituals continue harming the human race, and what we women are doing about them.
I am renting exhibit space to showcase the missions and merchandise of my World Pulse family. I am also partnering with SHEROES United http://www.sheroesunited.org/ to bring a One Billion Rising event http://www.onebillionrising.org/ to the parliament.
Whether or not my World Pulse family members have the funds to be with me at the parliament, I am bringing their voices and spirits there with me. The internet and World Pulse have made worldwide women’s networking a reality for so many. With enough combined women power, nothing is impossible.The Path to Participation Initiative from World Pulse and No Ceilings