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giving happiness global impact

Day 256: Women Hold Up Half the Sky To Empower Others

I think part of our role is to empower others in any way we can. Through a donation, a kind word, a smile or a cup of coffee.

Earlier this week I sent out a request for your favourite post of 2011. I got some great responses and every Sunday I will share a post that is sent to me in hopes to inspire us all to give a little more in our lives.  Do you have a favourite post that you have written or you have read that has inspired you to give more in your life? Leave a comment with the link and watch on Sundays to see if your favourite link is featured.

The first post I have chosen was sent to me by Shelly aka “Dancing’ Momma.” Her site is called Sun Dance, Moon Dance. Shelly suffers from a condition she talks about openly on her site called Pelvic Organ Prolapse. (POP). She suffers from chronic pain every day but still finds it in her heart to give to other women that also suffer and need her help. Women around the world suffer silently for so many reasons and just maybe this story will inspire you to give to a women in need today.

Give 256: Day 256


It is a sad truth that in many parts of our world, people truly struggle to survive their day to day lives, and with that struggle some have lost their dignity and their hope.  The future for many is so very bleak.
How do we help empower people?  How do we help them find their dignity?  How do we help them have hope for the future?  How do we make a long term impact, and not just a temporary fix?  How do we change the world?
I am far from an expert on this topic, but it is something I am interested in, have read about, thought about, and studied for many years. My gut and my heart tell me that it always comes back to education.


If we educate women the world will change
“Young women with access to education not only vastly improve their own lives but also bring change to their families, economies, and societies. Providing girls and women with a quality education is a highly effective tool to address poverty and fight disease.” (sourced fromUnicef)

Education empowers others.
Education gives people hope.
Education gives people a sense of self worth and dignity.
Education makes for a better future.
Education for women is especially critical to helping improve conditions in impoverished situations.

” ‘Women hold up half the sky,’ in the words of a Chinese saying, yet that’s mostly an aspiration: in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos…focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution.” –NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF (take a moment and read this article, it is very powerful!)

In the majority of cultures and families, the women are the main caregiver of children.  By educating young girls, you not only change the future of the girl, but you change the future of her children.  She will have the skills to better educate her children, and she will likely have her own source of income and the ability to send her children to good schools.  Women who are educated live their lives according to their terms.  They get married when they are ready, they have babies when they are ready.  Their family and children are healthy because the family income is spent on items like food, healthcare and education.  They often have their own careers, and they make their own choices.

“One-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before age 18; 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth in developing countries each year.” United Nations Population Fund, State of World Population 2005

We have talked in the past about how pelvic organ prolapse and fistula are so prevalent in developing countries.  These girls are having babies long before their bodies are ready.  Imagine not only having a baby in your teens, but then literally having your insides fall apart.  Imagine the shame, the fear, the loss of hope, the loss of dignity.  Then imagine if these women had an education?

“When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.”

(United Nations Population Fund, State of World Population 1990.)

At times I have found myself so overwhelmed, so overcome with feelings of helplessness.  I want to help, but everything seems so insubstantial, so temporary.

Except education.
Education is the one thing that will bring about long lasting change and benefit.

There are many organizations that have education as a key component of their programs.  My personal favourite is SOS Children’s Villages, but there are so many.

Maybe, just maybe, if we all helped one child get the education they deserve, we could change the world.
Dancing’ Momma
Thank you Dancing’ Momma. On your behalf I made a donation to SOS Children’s Villages. What will you do today to empower others in the world?

Time Commitment: 5 minutes
Cost: $10.00 donation


What people are saying about 365give

“I wanted to express my gratitude for the teaching you provided today. Your message was delivered eloquently, compassionately, and without judgment. The kids were engaged, and now have knowledge with which they can change the world. We all appreciated how you took the time to help us learn to build positive mindsets and practice happiness.”
Shelley Gardner, Grade 6 Ridgeview Elementary (West Vancouver)
“Actions really do speak louder than words, which is why I believe the 365give Challenge has resonated throughout my community. Every give we do is so important to us and leaves us happier and appreciating our lives a little bit more than before.”
Mahina Niyozova (Tajikistan)
“After watching the 365give TEDx Talk, I was inspired to join and begin a daily giving program in India. Today, along with 12 other volunteer women, we provide 100 meals to local underprivileged children in Bangalore for school every day.”
Deepika Ahuja, Mom (Bangalore, India)
“My life has greater meaning now.”
Renate Jorge, @BeKindBrazil and 365give Member, Family Program (Brazil)
“I just wanted to share that 365give really helped me. I am a better person now, thank you.”
MayLee, 365give Member, Individual Program
“This 365give Challenge has really injected excitement and extra enthusiasm in each work day as I think about what we can do. It has motivated me and the students.”
Cristina Peters, School Counselor (New York City, USA)
“I have seen a huge shift in energy throughout my classroom since doing the 365give Challenge. The Challenge has empowered my students to make a positive difference in the school’s community and beyond.”
Cella Adriana, Special Needs Educator /The Holliswood School (New York City, USA)
“The 365give Challenge helps students understand their impact on others. It opens avenues for introducing and discussing global and local issues in classrooms. It is powerful to watch students of all ages think about how they can make a change in another person’s life with one small act.”
Jessica Hall, Primary Teacher, French Immersion at École Pauline Johnson (West Vancouver, Canada)