Thursday, August 9, 2012

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit--Sheryl WuDunn--Half the Sky: Leadership in the Face of Oppression

Getting ready to hear Sheryl WuDunn give wisdom about leadership to help my Operation Christmas Child journey....

Talked of being in China and meeting a 12-year-old gift who lived 2 hours from the nearest road with no electricity or running water and shared the home with a large pig.  Her parents were paying her school fees of $13 a year and they decided it was too expensive and a waste of their money so they pulled her out of school in 6th grade.  They wrote about her in the New York Times and there was an influx of donations and one was a gift of $10,000 and she and her friends were able to finish school and the school could be renovated.

They called the donor to tell him what a difference his gift made and the donor said, "I only gave $100" and they found out a bank error had been made.  They called the bank official and asked if they were planning to take the money back and take the girls out of school.  And the bank offered to make up the difference in the amount.

The girls who finished school got good jobs and sent job back to the village and they were able to build better homes and a road to the village.

The central moral challenge of this century is gender inequity.  In many countries it's not your IQ level but your chromosomes that determine how far you will go.  Women are actually in the minority worldwide with 60 million to 100 million missing females in the current population.  When there isn't enough food to go around, females may not be fed.

In India from 1-5 years of age girls have 50% higher mortality rate than boys.  Education and jobs are key to making women and girls the solution.  They are not the problem.  Three reasons educating women is an answer to issues in the world--

1) overpopulation will decrease because educated women have fewer children
2) when men control the money in the household, more is wasted
3) natural resources -- women can be an economic engine in many parts of the world

Sex trafficking--Girls as young as 9-11 are put into brothels and forced to work 7 days a week.  Met a child who was trafficked and had two abortions and had her eyes gouged out.  Meeting that girl made them realize this was worse than slavery.

About 80,000 slaves transported each year in Civil War times but now 800,000 trafficked annually in the sex trade.  Her husband paid $150 - $200 to buy two slaves.  This shows these girls are disposable because they are so cheap.  This is coming to our shores in the US.  Runaway girls may become victims of trafficking.

Infant mortality--accounts for more of the missing females.  In much of the world children are not valued. In Niger 1 in 7 women die in childbirth.  Now a woman dies once every two minutes in the world but still so much progress to be made.  There are solutions.

1)  Microfinance- Microsavings--showed picture of a woman in Burundi.  This woman couldn't leave her home without permission of her husband and she couldn't touch cash.  Her husband had to go with her to pay for what she bought when she shopped.  She sneaked out to be able to contribute to the savings program for the month and when she won the loan she decided to plant potatoes and when she sold her crop she got $7.00 and paid off her loan and then started a banana beer business.

Women often get fistulas as a result of obstructed labor and then cannot control their waste.  One girl in this situation was left in her village for the hyenas to get her.  She fought off the hyenas and crawled miles to the missionary's home in a neighboring village.  She had surgery and became a nurse in the hospital to help others.

2)  Education--Showed picture of Beatrice who was 9 years old and had never been to school.  Church in Connecticut sent a donation for goats sent to Africa.  Beatrice's parents were given a goat and they began to sell the milk and could afford to send Beatrice to school.  She rocketed to the top of her class.  In high school she scored brilliantly and got a scholarship to come to the US.  Three years ago she graduated from Connecticut College and said at her graduation, "I am the luckiest girl alive because of a goat."   Beatrice now works in the field of development and wants to return to work to develop her country.

Reality check--it is hard to help people.  Many are criticizing aid.  Our foreign aid budget (less than 1% of the budget) and many projects fail.  Parts fail and no one can repair them.  Items are stolen or broken.  We need to create sustainable models.  Some of the most effective ways of helping people are not the sexiest--like deworming for children.   If everyone contributes a little bit we can be part of a movement.

Why should I be involved?  What's in it for me?

There are very few things that can elevate your level of happiness and one of those is contributing to a cause that is larger than yourself.  Those who are happy tend to live longer.

Story of an aid worker in Darfur who saw things no human being should see.  She was strong and steadfast.  When at home in Baltimore in her grandmother's backyard she broke down in tears when she saw a bird feeder and realized that she, who had seen babies thrown into a bonfire for the color of their skin, had the opportunity to live in a country where she not only had all she needed but had the luxury of being able to feed the birds.

All of us have 'won the lottery' in life.  How do we use that to make a better world?  Join the movement, be happier, live longer, and help save the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment