2013 Global Correspondents
We invite you to view an interactive map of our Correspondents and to read their profiles below.
See the amazing work that came out of the 2013 Voices of Our Future program:
- Module 1: Profiles of Women Leaders
- Module 2: Frontline Journals
- Module 3: Op- Eds
- Module 4: Multimedia Stories
In a country where 1 in 3 women report having been the victim of a violent attack, Aminah is developing the strength and fortitude to take a stand against domestic abuse. She bravely shares her personal experiences of being a woman and examines the societal norms placed on women that keep them in these relationships. Aminah is developing the strength and fortitude to take a stand against widespread domestic abuse. She desires to serve as an inspiration to the many women that suffer in silence with nowhere to turn and to shed light on this urgent issue.
“Being women does not mean we have to endure hardships and cruelty in silent remorse. I want to shout out loud to all women and men that it should not hurt to be a woman.”
Originally from Sudan, a country plagued by civil war, Anab immigrated to the US to study. She believes that when women are connected, they become inspired to drive the wheels of change. She hopes to amplify the voices of women in her homeland and to shed light on the sexualized violence that effects Sudanese women at harrowing rates. She envisions a world that is inclusive of women, where no woman has to suffer because of culture, religion, or any political structure or law.
“I want to magnify the cries of survivors of sexual crimes so that it may be heard. I want us to reclaim the bodies that were scarred in the name of traditions, and for those scars to heal.”
Having buried her sister-in-law due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Ayunnie dreams of a Kenyan society free of disease, discrimination, and poverty. At the funeral, she was handed a microphone to give the eulogy: Instead she gave the audience an inspiring speech about social change, girls education, and the AIDS epidemic in Kenya. Soon after that, she started the Ramula HIV support group, which now has 350 members, in five different locations. Ayunnie prays for the day her country sees transformational change, and she believes that women will be at the helm of this shift.
“I envision a society that is free from all forms of dehumanizing cultural practices.”
As one of seven daughters growing up in Lebanon, Bitani faced harsh truths of what it means to be a woman in a society that undervalues their contributions. Shortly after her birth, Bitani’s grandfather said, “Though she is a girl, we do not want her to die.” It was this support from her family that allowed her to become a vocal advocate for women’s rights. As a devout Muslim, she hopes for a day when the world can assess her religion and women’s roles within it with balance and understanding.
“I am interested in social justice as a whole, with issues ranging from access of poor nations to minimum standards of life to the rights of displaced nations in getting back to their homelands. However, the issue of Muslim women concerns me personally, for I am a devoted Muslim.”
As a shy girl growing up in the midst of the chaos of Somalia’s civil war, Deqa was among the lucky few who attended school despite the violence around her and cultural beliefs that deny many girls education. Still, she always had difficulty finding her voice until she made the courageous decision to further her education and go abroad to Malaysia. It was there that she became a loud speaker for the rights of girls in her community. She believes that educating girls will transform Somalia and that digital empowerment and mentorship programs will spark a revolution for women.
“I have always envisioned a peaceful and developed Somalia, and I have always believed that I am the face of that change.”
Green girl hails from the beautiful and resource-abundant country of Nigeria. She has witnessed the misuse and exploitation of her beloved land. She says these harmful policies have had the greatest impact on grassroots women. She desires to educate, inspire, and mobilize women on these issues and thereby empower them to speak out. She believes that the only way to ensure the environmental security of Nigeria is to make sure that women have an equal voice in these decisions.
“Together, women can crush and bridge the gender divide in the environmental sector.”
Hailing from Japan, Hideko moved to Nigeria to live with an abusive and violent fiancé. Nigerian laws did nothing to protect her and her daughter, so she turned to the International Federation of Women Lawyers who rescued her from this brutal situation. Hideko has since been on a quest to support the most disenfranchised people in Nigeria. She believes that networks like World Pulse can empower women to boldly stand up for their rights, their opinions, and their values.
“Our world today is interdependent: What one country does affect the conditions of other countries. Therefore, representing the voice of the voiceless is critical in today’s world. As a Voices of Our Correspondent, I am hoping to offer solutions to the problems of the world around us.”
Iryna was born in the USSR before its collapse. Today, she lives in Ukraine where “being a feminist is on par with being a spy.” In the last presidential election, the president refused to debate his female opponent and justified it by saying that "a woman's place is in the kitchen." Growing up in this culture, Iryna has witnessed women harassed who remain silent. She feels a responsibility to support women’s empowerment by uniting through “beauty and trust.” She recognizes that being a feminist is an uphill battle, but knows that through unity the women of Ukraine can rise.
“We are here for changes. We are here to shout if it’s needed. We are here to raise our voices and build a wall of support for every single case when a woman is offended!”
Born to an middle class family in Malaysia, Gayathiri believes that everyone in her country deserves access to the opportunities she was afforded as a youth, in particular education. She feels a great sense of urgency to create a network of global connections that will support the empowerment of her fellow sisters. She believes that she can make significant change in her own community by challenging the thoughts and actions that cause inequalities and discrimination and telling the untold stories that are not covered by the media.
“The issues that women face as a result of trafficking, migration, and conflict permeates all of our societies and it can only be addressed with a concerted effort. I hope to identify and work together with like-minded women to address this issue which happens across borders and countries.”
Born in a small village in the Tibetan plateau, Jampa is the first and only person from her village to attend a university abroad. She is currently working on small scale development projects and is driven to change the perception of what women in her community can contribute. She believes by applying her education and giving back to the community it will empower young girls to pursue their dreams. She plans to prove that educating girls can bring about positive change in society.
“My personal vision for my life is that I want to become a writer whose words become weapons to battle with violence and discrimination against women and girls.”
SIERRA LEONE:Joy Spencer
Joy was born in Liberia to Sierra Leonean parents and spent most of her formative years living in Nigeria. Her multicultural background has led her to believe that every community has and will continue to offer value to the world. She seeks to challenge disempowering labels that have been placed upon the African woman and confidently attests that she will not wait for permission to challenge people’s mindsets. She wants her legacy to continue through the powerful human connections that can be made through digital media.
“It is so hard for our world to view African women the way African women know themselves to be—intelligent, strong, industrious, and powerful—and not needing to be rescued. It is so hard for this to be considered normal—not needing to be mentioned—rather than something that is strange or intriguing.”
Heralding from a country that is one of the most dangerous places for a journalist to speak her truth, Klaudia Mexico is determined to use the craft of journalism to empower her Mexican sisters. With a passion for women’s health, she believes that education is the best way to prevent unnecessary maternal deaths and situations that can cause disabilities in children. She is certain that by gaining skills in digital media, she can bring momentum to efforts to prevent unnecessary deaths. She envisions a world where humans care about each other, all other species, and the planet.
“I firmly believe empowerment and education do not make us less of a woman. They make us better wives, mothers, leaders, and human beings.”
Born and raised in the Bronx, LatiNegra is an Afro-Dominican healer and a leader in transforming women’s lives to achieve happiness and wholeness. As a birth doula, she hopes to raise awareness about maternal and infant health for women, specifically highlighting disparities in the US healthcare system for women of color. She believes that her voice is an instrument that will become part of the symphony of passion and revolution burning in the chests of women. LatiNegra brings hope that will guide us to a place of healing and empowerment.
“I believe that the world has become frighteningly medicalized and in the same breath, disconnected from compassionate care. Western medicine has given way to us forgetting that we are psychosomatic beings whose thoughts and emotions show up as disease in our bodies. In becoming a traditional midwife, I will encourage women of color to shift their view of birth from a pathological situation to be treated to a normal event to be honored and supported.”
Libudsuroy reports from Mindanao, an island in the Philippines enduring decades of armed conflict. For her, sustainable peace can come only from listening to women peacebuilders on the ground. She believes that when grassroots women are digitally empowered, they can magnify their own voices. Thus, Libudsuroy envisions enabling women on peace fronts to weave strands of their stories of resilience and hope into global conversations on conflict transformation.
“I will strive to be there where women’s lives are continuing sagas of peace building…to wield the power of engendered conflict-sensitive journalism. For I believe these women are gifted with voices of their own. Only that their voices have been muted by extreme poverty, silenced by everyday violence. These voices are stifled by discrimination and hushed by the inconsolable grief of losing loved ones in brutal extra-judicial killings.”
In Jacobabad, a rural village in Pakistan, Mahrukh was always told that only ‘loose women’ used the Internet. As a young girl, she bravely defied that cultural mandate and frequented a local Internet café, where she garnered knowledge otherwise unavailable to her. In her community, child marriage is common due to poverty and lack of access to education, but Mahrukh desires to change her homeland’s perception of women. She believes that women’s wisdom is needed to change the tides of her society, and she plans to begin by healing and rebuilding women and girls’ perceptions of their worth.
“My life goal is to make people and especially women believe that they can be anything they want by having true determination, devotion, and honesty. We can kill the biggest monsters and create the amazing angel of hope and love.”
Phionah dropped out of high school before graduating because her family was no longer able to afford the fees. She married at 17 and became a mother. Her options as an undereducated woman in Kenya were limited and she knew that. She became determined to go back to school as an adult, graduated and received a scholarship to go to college. Phionah decided to study to become a journalist in order to shine light on the problems women were facing in her community. Her strong desire to bring change led her to open the Center for Disadvantaged Girls in Nairobi.
“I envision a future where women don't have to walk tens of kilometres to fetch a few liters of water, a future where women will be given equal rights to education and leadership posts as men, where our kids don't die for lack of food and medical attention ”
Monica is creative, especially with words. To describe her love for books she coined the term “bookaholic.” A learner for life, she loves to acquire new skills, explore new ideas, places, and meet people. Through her writing she hopes to reach women and teach them about their rights and technology. Monica is proud to say that thanks to her perseverance, her mother can now operate a cellphone and understands that women in Bangladesh have the right to protest. She envisions a world that is safer and more equitable for all its inhabitants.
“As a journalist, I am committed to bringing social issues, especially the gender-based violence epidemic, at the forefront of media discussions.”
Mukut is an idealist. She dreams of an India which does not blame victims when they are raped, an India that views women as independent individuals and not as extensions of their husbands or fathers. She is passionate about fighting for a just and equal society. Her dream is to nurture a sense of love and tolerance in every soul and being. She is involved with Deoraj Trust, a non-profit initiative in New Delhi that hopes to put a smile on millions of faces.
“Our vision must inspire us, equip us, and ultimately create a unique us, to unlock our full 'feminine' potential.”
Nadeen grew up in a large family in a small rural village in the south of Jamaica. When she became pregnant at age 17, she thought her life was over. Instead, her life has been enriched as she has stepped into the role of mentor to girls in her community. Today she is the executive director of the I'm Glad I'm a Girl Foundation, where she draws on her life experience to help young women gain confidence and take control of their lives.
“I pride myself on being a woman who is a social justice advocate and who speaks for the most vulnerable girls and young women or perhaps someone who helps them to find their voice so that they can speak for themselves.”
Nakinti grew up on a rural farm in a poor family in the Cameroon. While she was away at school, her younger sisters helped at the farm and ensured that there was enough money for the older siblings to go to school. Nakinti wants to know, she wants to learn, and she wants to share with the world the damaging practices that hurt and even kill women in her country. Nakinti is hungry for change, and she wants to teach by example. Her passion for writing has brought her to a career in journalism where she is currently a reporter for the Global Press Institute, covering important issues impacting women in her community. Her dream is to see the elimination of discrimination against women in Africa.
“I talk to parents on the importance of girl child education. Many parents say they don’t need to be told anymore; they say they admire the huge success that the women of my family have achieved.”
In 1944, Nechesa’s grandmother refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on an interstate bus in a racially segregated United States. Today Nechesa honors the legacy of her grandmother and other heroes by designing T-shirts that celebrate the accomplishments of revolutionary leaders. She is working on a series of videos featuring courageous people from around the world. Through the women who came before her, Nechesa is finding strength and the power of her own voice. She is ready to face success head on.
“What I believe I can contribute is simple: my heart and my voice. They're my strength and the tools I will utilize to make my vision a reality.”
Passy Mubalama Passy lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country many call “the worst place in the world to be a woman.” She is the eldest of 12 and the only one of her siblings to have had an opportunity to go to college. While attending university, she realized that women have rights and that when women know their rights they can be empowered to create change. Armed with strength and a passion for journalism, she hopes to drive the future of her country.
“For such changes to occur, we must have a vision. My vision is to show women that we can have vision and to get there we need to support each other.”
Originally from a country where being gay carries a potential penalty of death, Tash is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She vows to fight until governments stop imprisoning people based on their sexual orientation, until children’s rights are recognized, until women are equal. A law school graduate, she believes that one does not have to be discriminated against to care about the plight of gays and lesbians. She will shout endlessly if she has to, and she will be heard.
“We all live and breathe the same air; we should all be able to enjoy the same rights and freedoms without encroaching on others’ freedoms.”
At a very early age, Pelamutunzi realized that the status of women in her country needed improvement. Why was her mother staying with her unfaithful father? Why were girls beaten and abused in Zimbabwe? Why did her teacher tell her class that all women are dirty and disgusting? While searching for answers to these questions, Pelamutunzi discovered that girls’ education is key. Her vision is to empower girls about their sexual and reproductive health and to teach them to speak for themselves and share their life experiences.
“Girls should be empowered from an early stage to understand their worth instead of trying to change their mindsets when they are adults. I teach girls who are already afraid to speak.”
Because of her gender, Precious M has been harassed. She has been silenced. She has been denied employment, denied pay, and hassled in the streets of the Cameroon. But Precious sees a new future for the women of her country. Inspired by her mother’s accomplishments, Precious has built a name for herself in broadcast journalism. She aims to be a powerful voice for those who are unable to speak for themselves. She hopes to be a film producer and believes that video storytelling can—and will—change the future of her homeland.
“True to my name, I am Precious.”
Rabia’s life journey took her from the confines of a small community in Afghanistan to Bangladesh, where she studies at the Asian University for Women. It was there that she discovered that girls too can play sports. She was even able to convince her mother that a dignified woman can play basketball. Rabia’s dream is to give a voice to the silenced and report on important but neglected issues. She hopes to open new doors for herself and the women of her country.
“I threw away the silence and raised my voice to talk for me. I want to help any other person like me to throw away the silence they are gifted usually from their society, and get a tool that can at least make their dreams known, their voice. For this, I myself need to be a voice.”
Rebecca is fighting what she calls the “linguistic oppression” that prevents women from speaking up and being part of the dialogue. She is a journalist and blogger in Uganda, raising awareness about women’s issues and educating her coworkers about the importance of reporting on women. She strongly believes that language can be used to drive social change. Rebecca teaches adult literacy classes, empowering women with the gift of eloquence.
“I told him I wrote because I wanted my nieces and their sisters to have a world that was better than what their mothers and our mothers had.”
Shahd has a fire inside of her. It took some time before she realized she could transform her anger into positive energy to change her country of Iraq. Her nation has suffered years of war and Shahd has witnessed death, rape, kidnappings, and childhood innocence violated; she has experienced relocation and powerlessness. She has found solace in the Internet where she can connect and learn about ways she can empower young women to find their voices and stand up for their rights.
“If I wanted to be a free woman, if I wanted to share equal opportunity with men, I should start with myself. I should have faith in me. My rights are already there, I am the one who should pursue and fight for them.”
As a young girl, Tina watched a movie about people traveling to space. At that moment, she decided that she would become an engineer and build her own rocket to go to the moon. Despite cultural barriers, she studied hard and became one of only a handful of women engineers in her homeland of Malawi. Today, she travels to schools across the country and gives motivational talks to girls to inspire them to stay in school, pursue a higher education, and dream one day, as she did, of traveling to distant places.
“My personal vision for the future is a Malawi that will stand on its own and such a place is only possible if girls and women realize their potential.”
As a teenager, Vweta lost her voice following an emergency tracheotomy. For years she has struggled to improve her health and regain her voice. When she was finally able to speak, she decided to be a spokesperson for disabled women in Nigeria who are discriminated against and taken advantage of because of their handicap. Vweta envisions an egalitarian world where women hold the highest offices possible.
“I have a story to tell—a story of rejection, anger, depression, deep sadness, struggles, disappointments, forgone alternatives, weaknesses, trial and error, prejudice, persistence, hope, strength, resilience, and victory. Yes! I have a story to tell; it is my story, but it is also the story of every woman, man, girl, boy, disabled or not.”
Yosra grew up in Sudan, during times of war. Her personal vision for her community and her country was shaped by the world she lives in, and her up-close encounter with death and injustices. She has joined several health promotion campaigns in Sudan and regularly writes and blogs about discrimination against women in an effort to inform and inspire. Yosra is seeking a better future for her daughters, and for girls all over the world.
“I believe in the universality of the human need for peace and freedom. I seek justice for my nation, the nations striving under dictatorships rule, the impoverished persons everywhere, and women who suffer because Allah has created them female. I stand by the disadvantaged.”