As Stella Paul, Neema Namadamu, and Hummingbird prepare to fly to the US for the World Pulse LIVE tour, the World Pulse team is reflecting on the legacy of outspoken leadership these women will soon become a part of. We will never forget Beatrice commanding the stage last year with her triumphant personal testimony on the power of educating a single girl. We remember the quiet, deliberate voice of Sarvina speaking out against the horrors of sex trafficking. Malayapinas’s defiant voice, shaking with emotion, still rings in our ears two years after she took her fierce message of peace in the Philippines to audiences across the US. We hold Martha Llano, Jacqueline Patiño, and Sunita Basnet dear to our hearts for their vision, courage, and beautiful spirits.
We caught up with the speakers from the past two World Pulse LIVE tours to get updates on their lives and work. As you can see Beatrice, Sarvina, Martha, Sunita, Jacqueline, and Malayapinas have been very busy in the last few years!
Beatrice Achieng | Uganda
Growing up in an impoverished community with 15 siblings fighting for enough food to eat, Beatrice knows what it means to follow a dream. She has risen above her circumstances to become an inspirational leader responding to Uganda’s HIV/AIDS crisis, which has ravaged her own family and left her with 17 orphaned nephews and nieces. She used her newfound knowledge of social media to rally women around the world and stand up to local leaders to claim her land when it was threatened by local leaders after her last brother died of AIDS.
Since the tour: Beatrice has launched her vision to start a mentoring network for impoverished girls with no chance for an education called the Rural Girl Child Mentorship Uganda. Within weeks, Beatrice matched 40 girls with online mentors (many audience members from the tour!) and raised enough funds to send them all to school.
In her words: My Vision and How You Can Support Me
Sarvina Kang | Cambodia
At 10 years old, she was told she would never amount to anything more than a prostitute. Now the only literate person in an extended family of 35—Sarvina has overcome poverty to become a leader in her community and a champion of girls' education and ending sex trafficking.
Since the tour: Sarvina just completed her Master’s degree—the first woman in her district to do so— and raised enough funds to supply girls in her community with 100 bicycles. She champions girls’ education and breast cancer awareness through several NGOs and dreams of opening an empowerment center in her village. Recently, she has started blogging for the BBC.
In her words: Always World Pulse's Family
Martha Llano | Colombia
Seven thousand feet above sea level in the cloud forests of Colombia, Martha Llano is raising her voice for local communities and fragile ecosystems. In a country terrorized by the drug war, where avoiding land mines and witnessing violence against women is a daily occurrence, she is bravely standing up for the land she loves.
Since the tour: Martha received an offer to publish a book about her life from a tour audience member. She continues to work to protect ecosystems and the indigenous population near her home in the Colombian cloud forest and recently received a legal ruling to receive protection from developers who are threatening to take her land and her life.
In her words: Flying Time
Sunita Basnet | Nepal
Sunita blazed a path by becoming the first girl to complete high school in her impoverished village in Nepal. Since then, her thirst for justice led her at age 16 to start a successful local savings club for women in her village of 500. She has traveled across her country recording the stories of rural villagers, even while witnessing bloody attacks by the Maoist insurgency.
Since the tour: After completing her master’s degree in South Korea and moving to Oslo, Norway, Sunita has started several grassroots initiatives back home. She helped launch Wake Up Call Nepal to make her country’s urban centers accessible for people with disabilities and joined with several World Pulse members to start a scholarship fund for underprivileged girls.
In her words: Where am I NOW?
Jacqueline Patiño | Bolivia
At 18 Jacqueline found herself on the streets with two children, fleeing severe violence at home. Yet, she decided that life would not defeat her. College student by night, she took on odd jobs, eventually launching her own small businesses. She is a fierce advocate for girl mothers and has worked with social organizations and indigenous groups across Bolivia spreading her message of nonviolence and possibility.
Since the tour: Jacqueline’s online activism on behalf of the indigenous communities and ordinary citizens of Bolivia started as a humble Facebook group. Now she is a leader in a full-fledged citizen’s movement speaking out against violence and injustice and holding the Bolivian government accountable for its actions.
In her words: My Vision, My Everyday Task
Malayapinas | Philippines
Since childhood Malayapinas has seen the dark side of globalization and violence in the Philippines. She walked to school barefoot after selling eggs and cigarettes in her nation's ports and toiled in banana plantations to earn her way through college. She has continually spoken out against oppression, even as two of her colleagues were killed in a massacre of journalists. Her dream is to see her people free to chart their own destiny.
Since the tour: Between raising a 9-year-old daughter, organizing the first anti-mining conference in her region, working to prevent a mega-dam in the heartland of the Philippines’ indigenous peoples, and anchoring two radio programs, Malayapinas manages to slowly add—page by page—to the book she is writing about her life’s work. We can’t wait to read it!
In her words: My Soul Wanders…
Your support and encouragement have helped these women get where they are today. Read their updates. Connect with them on PulseWire. Continue to cheer them on and support their visions. And stay tuned for more voices of rising women’s leadership as the 2012 World Pulse LIVE tour begins next week.