Voices of Our Future 2012

2012 Global Correspondents

We invite you to view an interactive map of our Correspondents, or read their profiles below.

KASHMIR:Aliya Bashir

Mentor: Carol AdamsEditorial Midwife: Karoline Kemp

Surrounded by fear, militarism and violence in war-torn Kashmir, Aliya embraces her role as a journalist to seek out solutions, and the often hidden, small ways that women are making a difference. She believes women have a crucial role to play in peace and reconciliation, government decision making and all efforts to build a sustainable future for her homeland.

“More women should feel empowered and break all the shackles of marginalization to be a part of peace negotiations and political processes to resolve the long-pending Kashmir conflict.”


Mentor: Virginia Williams Editorial Midwife: Jan Askin

An activist journalist, amiesissoho is a bridge between rural and urban, literate and illiterate women in Gambia. Having overcome her own fear of technology to become a loudspeaker for women’s rights, she seeks to empower women using alternative media. She is creating a local platform where women can speak in their own language, tell their stories, and share their solutions. Amiesissoho believes that when women realize the power in their voices, they can change the world.

“My personal vision is women at grassroots level have access to alternative media to speak out against their oppression and marginalization.”


Mentor: Christie Hardwick Editorial Midwife: Kristin Miller

Celine was born in a poor eastern Nigerian suburb during the civil war and developed a physical disability during childhood. As a woman growing up in a patriarchal society and living with a physical disability, Celine faced malnutrition, marginalization, stigmatization, and discrimination, and now bears the weight of severe trauma. However, Celine refuses to let these obstacles get in the way of her dream: to transform the lives of women with disabilities. She is realizing her dream by creating empowerment and public sensitization programs focused on equality, dignity, and respect for women with disabilities.

“I am on a journey of faith to fulfill a vision to use web 2.0 to free women from oppression, suppression, and discrimination.”


Mentor: Eileen PageEditorial Midwife: Jinx Faulkner

Growing up in Zambia, Chinemu found a way out of poverty through education. Currently she is working on a project to equip youth with a range of income-earing skills, so that they too can avoid a life of struggle. Chinemu also works as a journalist, using the power of the pen to confront the problems young girls face in a patriarchal society. She sees the potential for World Pulse to help her reach a wider audience and act as a loudspeaker for the issues in her community.

“I wish to share my vision with the world, share ideas and transform them to reality and see more and more children liberated from the chains of poverty.”


Mentor: Kat HaberEditorial Midwife: Elizabeth Fautsch

Caught in the middle of the Serbian-Croatian war in the 1990s, Dubravka’s life changed forever. Her freedoms disappeared, and the threads of her life and community unraveled within a few years. Fast forward to now: Dubravka lives in a small town on the Hungarian border with infrequent electricity. Internet is her door to create the world that she envisions. She seeks out information on issues most dear to her - protecting women and preventing domestic violence. She begins to tell her community’s stories. Again her life is changing in front of her eyes, but this time she is regaining her freedom.

“I have to connect women of Serbia and help them to collaborate, and do not let them be forgotten like Robinson Crusoe on his island.”


Mentor: Sarah Whitten Editorial Midwife: Emily Brewer

Hummingbird spent many years as a young woman in Syria suffering deeply simply for not wanting to accept a woman’s traditional subservient role. She endured beatings and humiliation in a loveless marriage, finding solace and inspiration only in books. That is, until one day, she had enough and packed her bags and left. Since that day, even as her country has fallen into deepening violence and repression, she has become more courageous and self-assured. Hummingbird sees the potential to use new media to transform her country —and the world — by unleashing women’s concealed aspirations and wisdom.

“I always encourage my sisters to be fearless, it is never too late to stop the damage or accept change.”


Mentor: Amy KesselEditorial Midwife: Amy Maroney

In Uganda, where violence against women and teen pregnancy are normal occurrences, Ikirmat is determined to make a difference in the lives of women. She is challenging harmful cultural and religious practices in her community with knowledge through her Sexual Health Improvement Project. By training community health educators how to reach out to youth in their communities, she is giving the next generation of girls and young women access to knowledge about their rights and the resources they need to lead healthy, successful lives.

“I have found comfort, a family in World Pulse, who is ready to listen, to share, to guide me in my voyage in achieving the my dream.”

BARBADOS:Juliette Maughan

Mentor: Anjana PursnaniEditorial Midwife: Sally Hedman

Hailing from the small Caribbean nation of Barbados, Juliette believes that her region is all too often sidelined in international policy conversations. She is working to break this pattern and make an impact at home and abroad, first by discovering her own voice, and then by inspiring Caribbean individuals to speak out and create change for themselves. Her biggest life dreams include founding a youth leadership academy in her region, and starting an investment fund for entrepreneurs in the Caribbean and Africa.

“When like-minded individuals come together and advocate around a particular issue, gather the right information and take action there is greater impact.”


Mentor: Ann O'FallonEditorial Midwife: Leslie Parrilla

Hailing from Mexico, Katy witnesses fear and intimidation from the growing political violence silencing many women in her country. She is committed to protection and advocacy of women’s and girls' rights, and the need for women from all backgrounds to unite for social justice. Concerned about the media’s lack of coverage of how violence affects women, Katy develops initiatives for community development and organizes social media training workshops for women.

“Big changes are happening in this country and the world needs to know about them. Women and girls in Mexico are in spite of all, very alive and working to build a better world for our families.”


Mentor: Shirley ClarkEditorial Midwife: Caitlyn Henry

As an expressive young girl, Ly was able to avoid an arranged marriage through a combination of convincing argument and excellence in her studies. Today she works as a parliamentary observer, where she is able to gain an inside perspective on government. Her hard work is bringing her closer to her personal dream: to be an outspoken female politician, confronting injustices such as child rape. She hopes to change the face of political decision-making by inspiring more female and youth participation.

“My voice through Would Pulse will bring Cambodian women’s issues to the world and back with solutions.”


Mentor: Jane WellsEditorial Midwife: Roz Siegel

Growing up in Nicaragua during a time of war and radical social change, Maddy witnessed acts of violence and destruction, but also instances of solidarity and hope. Today Maddy sees political polarization, coupled with biased media sources, as one of the biggest challenges to equality, non-violence, and collaboration. Maddy’s self-confidence, based on her faith, helps her find the strength to work towards her vision of promoting hope and positive social change. Her work experience in nonprofit organizations facilitating relationships between communities of faith has reinforced her commitment to create meaningful connections between seemingly different people.

“This worldwide women’s movement using new media shows a crucial change in the way we relate to technology, it is no longer a ‘man’s domain.’ We are tearing down walls and erasing borders that have kept us apart.”


Mentor: Judy KugelmassEditorial Midwife: Barbara Bracewell

MaDube is a Zimbabwean lawyer by profession and a human rights advocate by calling. As an observer in her country’s 2008 elections, she bore witness to violence and intimidation, primarily targeted at women. She is now using her voice in this repressive environment to link politics, law, and human rights to defend the dignity of women and demand change in her country.

“The possibility of facing reprisals for speaking out is high, but silence is not an option.”


Mentor: Paulette Common Editorial Midwife: Julie Tomlin

Raised in a working class neighborhood in the South Bronx, malba66 is a Puerto Rican/Panamanian activist, producer and writer who has worked in the arts, and youth and community development throughout the US and Latin America for over 15 years. She currently works with low-income, immigrant youth and families to overcome barriers to quality public education. Malba66 believes that through art and media, the voices of marginalized people must be brought to a global stage to help promote dialogue on peace and justice.

“Documenting and telling stories is central to my life project, mostly because my story—and the stories of my community as a Puerto Rican, Panamanian, working class woman and mother in the United States—is rarely given a forum.”


Mentor: Mary BennettEditorial Midwife: Leslie Stoupas

As a young girl growing up in Egypt, Mirette discovered the power of the written word as a healing tool to deal with the challenges she faced. After leaving an unfulfilling banking job, she pursued community development work as a way to combine her love of writing and her passion for children. She is currently developing a project for youth to engage in interfaith dialogue and collaborative community work, while connecting to their common identity as Egyptian citizens in the post-Mubarak Egypt.

“My vision is to be a mentor for children and youth, especially girls, and help them to find themselves and their mission in life, to lead a healthy, happy and successful life.”


Mentor: Ruth BeedleEditorial Midwife: Lisa Cox

A social activist, community researcher and writer, mlaphimon seeks to bring to light the stories and insights of women of Thailand and the Greater Mekong Subregion. Working at the intersection of HIV and Violence Against Women, she struggles daily to ensure that the sexual and reproductive rights of all people, particularly sexual minorities, are respected and enforced. Mlaphimon seeks to engage a global audience to nurture mutual respect, understanding and acceptance.

“I foresee the world with sexual diversity. In so doing, a tolerant community where women can defend their rights over their bodies without fear of social stigma and discrimination can become reality.”

SOUTH AFRICA:Monica Clarke

Mentor: Elaine MillamEditorial Midwife: Michelle Coburn

Monica Clarke is a passionate voice trying to end gender based violence in South Africa. She wants to bring to light the majority of abuse that goes unreported, and compel her government to create fair, strong, and objective laws, and ensure that every citizen feels empowered to step forward when they witness assault and abuse. Monica sees mobile technology as a way to carry out her vision of creating a national database which will help track and disseminate key information on gender based violence.

“I know that my little light is joined by millions of others across the skies, buoyant and luminous; that my little sound reverberates within thunder; and my drop of water feeds the sea.”


Mentor: Clarice ScriberEditorial Midwife: Abigail Diskin

Nasreenamina is a Chilean writer and activist living in Buenos Aires who wants the world to know how women are changing their realities in South America. As converted Muslim, she helps give voice to other Muslim women around the globe by interviewing them on topics such as the portrayal of women in educational systems in North Africa. Nasreenamina believes that women need skills in leadership and information communication technologies to participate fully in the movement for social justice—and she has already started a training program in her region to achieve this vision.

“Life is a gift. A fulfilled life is an achievement. A woman achieving her dreams is a butterfly who learned how to fly in the storm.”


Mentor: Ruth BeedleEditorial Midwife: Valerie Bagley

Afflicted by polio at the age of two, Neema grew up in one of the worst countries in the world to be a woman-the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Today she works to unite hundreds of thousands of women to bring an agenda of dignity, rights and gender empowerment to the forefront of her nation’s future. As part of her vision, Neema has opened an Information Communications Technology company to give voice to the voiceless and change the global conversation.

"I’m not interested in making a little noise – I’m looking to CHANGE THE PARADIGM!"


Mentor: Pat FinneganEditorial Midwife: Rosemary Hannan

As an English-speaking, Palestinian American woman living in an Arab town in Israel, noreens uses her unique perspective and love of writing to break down misconceptions and stereotypes. By writing about Palestinian folktales and Muslim holidays in a local children’s magazine, sharing her personal experiences of being searched at check-points, or relaying the struggles of other Palestineans in her joint Arab-Jewish women’s photography class, noreens brings humanity to the forefront of a decades-long struggle for freedom.

“Knowledge is power, and armed with both, women can cross borders and topple misconceptions, inequality, and injustice. We can make our own demonstrations of change.”


Mentor: Mary Ann MorrealeEditorial Midwife: Jana Potter

Okeny-Lucia, a nurse and maternal and child-health advocate, braved the 2km walk from her home in Kibera, Kenya’s largest slum, to help her countrymen and women after violence broke out during the 2007 elections. Realizing that her story and those of countless other nurses and midwives are going untold in her country, Okeny-Lucia works to connect these women with the skills and tools they need in information communications technology to make their voices heard and find the resources they need to reduce maternal mortality.

“I believe if many midwives get to be connected through World Pulse to say their stories, we will make the worst noise until the government hears. No woman must die while seeking for maternal care on time.”

AFGHANISTAN:Parwana Fayyaz

Mentor: Ellen WingardEditorial Midwife: Farnoosh Fathi

As a child Parwana lived under the gloomy skies of Kabul until she fled with her family to Pakistan where she lived as a refugee for ten years. Today she has overcome difficult odds to become a student at the Asian University for Women, where she is finding her wings and using her voice to build a peaceful future for Afghanistan. Parwana dreams of bringing human rights, peace, and knowledge to women in Afghanistan so that they too can live with hope and confidence, reclaim their freedom and dignity, and rebuild their country.

“I am confident that I am the one who is going to change the Afghan women's world. I am going to write about Afghanistan, Afghan women, Afghan men, Afghan children, and even Afghanistan's nature that will awaken the world to save my country and leave it in peace after decades of war."

PHILIPPINES:Paulina Lawsin

Mentor: Marta WilliamsEditorial Midwife: Jocelyn Edelstein

Reawakening an old dream to become a journalist, Paulina Lawsin is determined to connect the voices of women from the villages of the Philippines with a global audience to help end poverty, violence, and gender inequality. Orphaned at the age of ten, her mother’s spirit guides her on her quest to create just and equitable communities. Paulina trains local people in gender sensitivity, participatory governance and leadership, and has banded together with women all over the country to push for pro-poor and gender sensitive laws and budgets.

“Let the women voices be heard in the villages, at the local centers of power, to the halls of Congress. Together, we will lift each other’s spirits, wipe each other’s tears, cheer at our small victories and sustain our gains in the family, work and community lives.”

ERITREA:Rahel Weldeab

Mentor: Nancy CosgriffEditorial Midwife: Debra Engle

Rahel is a young Eritrean woman committed to action. While she appreciates the power of new media and technology to connect a global community, she recognizes the profound digital divide that often keeps grassroots women leaders from being heard. Rahel hopes to serve as a connection between these women and the rest of the world, to help inform, empower, and build peace in her country and region.

“We need to not just spread information and report on the amazing things our mothers have done and continue to do, but to also mobilize young women to take on similar action.”


Mentor: OdessaEditorial Midwife: Lisa Teberg

Born in a small village in southern China, redsbird identifies herself as a daughter, a mother, and a woman. As a journalist for her city newspaper, redsbird is working towards her vision to bring about equality for women in China by writing about women’s perspectives on reproductive rights and gender roles, which are all too often ignored in society. An avid writer on Sina-weibo, a Chinese network akin to Twitter, redsbird believes that inner change and reflection must happen before one can change the world.

“Unity is strength. Web 2.0 makes the unity of women all over the world become possible that was unbelievable [before].”


Mentor: Patricia O'Connor Editorial Midwife: Lois Parshley

As a young girl in a small town in the poorest parish in Jamaica, ruthibelle was raised “having barely to just enough.” At a young age, surrounded by disempowered youth and teenage pregnancy, she felt she lived in darkness. But now, sparked by education, ruthibelle looks at her community and sees solutions. With an insatiable thirst for knowledge and action, she is volunteering, blogging, and building movements as a youth advocate in her country and the world.

“I want to tell precious stories so well that people won’t stop talking, won’t stop thinking, until something happens - something big, something great, something absolutely filled with nobility.”


Mentor: Catherine FitzgeraldEditorial Midwife: Jennifer Baljko

After two decades of war in Somalia, Sahro is determined to put conflict resolution and gender equality at the top of the political agenda. She envisions a transformation in Somali mindset; moving away from violence as a solution to one of peace and dialogue. She is currently bringing Somali women together on multiple social media sites to speak out about the need for national and community peace initiatives. She is helping women become agents of change instead of victims of war, and pressuring the government to create a Ministry for Peace and Conflict Transformation.

“There is a need to speak a language of love and harmony that is inclusive of all ethnic groups. There is a need to have more role models and peace builders.”

INDIA:Stella Paul

Mentor: Sara CollinsEditorial Midwife: Pushpa Achanta

Enduring the struggle of growing up in northeast India as a girl, Stella survived a childhood of neglect, abuse, and a society that refused to acknowledge her as a woman capable of making positive change. Now a freelance journalist and about to cover the UN Climate Summit in Durban 2011, Stella is telling the stories of marginalized women to a world audience. She focuses on finding solutions to women’s inequality through community-based media, including Web 2.0 and mobile phone journalism.

“These marginalized women of India are actually a rising army of change makers; they are taking micro loans to buy computers, cell phones and start a business; they are laboring with men and demanding equal pay; they are fighting displacement, corruption, domestic violence, and, even elections.”


Mentor: Robin AtheyEditorial Midwife: Laura Stull

Treasureland, from Nigeria, is an ambitious woman who overcame a turbulent and at times violent childhood to turn victimhood into leadership. She has dedicated her life to working tirelessly for the women and girls of Nigeria. Treasureland is proud to contribute to the Millennium Development Goals on poverty alleviation and sustainable development by serving as a youth mentor, by teaching IT and social media skills in rural communities, and by empowering women to stand up for reproductive health rights and fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS and Malaria.

“Web 2.0 bridges the gap between literacy and illiteracy, race and religion, rich and poor, it encourages all women to speak.”


Mentor: Katherine HoltEditorial Midwife: Anna Sontag

“Girls’ education is like pouring water over sand,” is how Usha describes the environment in her small village in Nepal. Fortunately, her parents ignored the majority opinion and sent Usha to school. Usha refuses to be silenced by violence and discrimination, and yearns to spread the dignity and empowerment that she feels to other women. She wants to become involved in building a women’s global network to change people’s the beliefs that it is OK to oppress women through sexual harassment, lower pay, and withholding of property rights.

“I dream of being a global woman with dignity. I dream of being a woman with a powerful voice. I dream of being a woman with decision making power. This is for me, "the garden of my dreams”.”

BRAZIL:Valeria Barbosa de Silva

Mentor: Kate RiveraEditorial Midwife: Thais Moraes

Born in the slums of Rio de Janeiro to an illiterate father and semi-literate mother, Valeria Barbosa da Silva has spent 32 years working with the youth, elderly and families in the favelas helping to create a brighter future. Having been taught by her neighbors to read, Valeria now contributes regularly to her community newspaper dedicated to promoting the voices from Cidade de Deus, Rio de Janeiro’s most infamous slum. Her dream is to create a center for women’s empowerment, providing educational training, psychological support, and guidance so that the women of the slums can live dignified and healthy lives.

“If we are not aware, we are slaves of power. It is a chain that keeps our tongue, hands and feet shackled. Freedom is called information. The passport to peace is communication.”


Mentor: Monica LehnerEditorial Midwife: Anne Dujmovic

Growing up in Cameroon, zoneziwoh realized she simply could not remain silent when witnessing people living in fear from abuse, imprisonment, and starvation. As a rising citizen journalist, poet, and women’s activist, zoneziwoh is constantly implementing solutions to problems that she runs across. Recently she created a platform on Facebook and Twitter for Cameroonian women to share their personal stories and experiences throughout this year’s October 2011 presidential elections.

“My goal is to rewrite the history of Cameroon with an emphasis on the women who are not afraid of the front line and making positive change.”

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