World Moms were out in force on Saturday, January 21st, 2017 at Women’s Marches all around the world. Here are a few of the pictures of a day of global solidarity. The connection of women at these marches are what we try to do on a virtual level here at World Moms Network every day!
Where we were:
Managing editor, Elizabeth Atalay, and contributor, Jennifer Iachovelli were in Washington, DC.
West Palm Beach, Florida
Social Media Editor, Nicole Morgan, was at a march with her mother and daughters in Florida.
St. Louis, Missouri
“My dream is to capture this energy of the moment and transform it into action. If we can launch an unprecedented movement of citizen advocacy and hard work to elect candidates who believe in these values, we will truly have succeeded today.” – Editor, Cindy Levin
Thank you for marching with a #WorldMoms sign, Cindy!
New York City
“My aunt and mom (right). My mom said she marched before I was born and can’t believe she had to do it again.” – Social Media Editor, Sarah Hughes
“Nasty Women Arise! I am marching for my daughter and countless girls and women globally who don’t have the freedom to exercise their rights!” — Contributor, Tes Silverman #worldmoms #womensmarchnyc
Our editor, Tara Wambugu, marched in Wangari Mathai’s Karura Forest.
We also proudly share this interview with former World Moms Network contributor, Sophie Walker, from Saturday. Sophie is now the head of the Women’s Equality party in England and marched in London. We’re so proud of you, Sophie, for sticking up for women!
Check in tomorrow on the blog for a detailed account of the Washington DC march! To see more photos from Women’s Marches around the world check out this New York Times article! There is no doubt, we are stronger together.
I drew in my breath with awe as the beauty of the verdant mountain range came into view. We had Emerged from the congested streets of Port-au-Prince where we watched fathers precariously navigate the heavy traffic holding the tiny hands of their little girls in school uniforms and hair-bows. Street side sellers had perched water or dried plantains atop their heads as they skillfully wove through the crowd. The street art that brightened cement walls was half covered by myriad posters for presidential candidates. Heading out of the city we’d passed glimpses of the ocean peeking through breaks in the tree line or the walls, and then the view opened up to the majestic green mountains undulating off into the distance as far as we could see. Having read that Haiti has the highest deforestation rate of any country in the world with only 2% of it’s original forests remaining, it was greener than I had expected. During my week in Haiti I came to a deeper understanding of the Haitian proverb I had heard , “Mountains Beyond Mountains”, but this was my first literal interpretation. The mountains beyond mountains of this gorgeous view.
We came to Haiti to visit artisans with the Artisan Business Network who create products for the Heart of Haiti line of goods sold on-line and in Macy’s stores in America. Heart of Haiti began it’s partnership with the Artisan Business Network after the 2010 earthquake to aid in economic recovery by providing sustainable jobs and a market for the rich arts culture of the country. Art is everywhere you turn, from the walls of Port-au-Prince lined with steel art and hung with paintings, graffiti decorated buildings, to the colorful TapTap buses. Each region seems to have a creative specialty and our tour took us to several areas where we were able to watch the artisans at work, and follow their process of creation from start to finish.
The coastal town of Jacmel is known for it’s arts and charm. Mosaics like the stairs pictured above decorate public areas and historic French architectural influence reminded me of New Orleans. There we visited Paper Mache artists who demonstrated their craft using recycled materials such as discarded cement bags and layers of cardboard boxes which they seemed to magically transform into gorgeous works of art.
Paper Mache heart ornaments
We met the women of the PWOFAPLAS soapmaking collective in Mirebalais, who banded together to use their creativity to generate economic opportunities for themselves in an area without many options for women.
In Leogane, which was the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake, we visited the river where soapstone is sourced. We then watched as the Heart of Haiti soapstone carvers transformed the rough rocks by hand-carving them into smooth hearts and bowls.
In Croix des Bouquets we were shown how a repurposed steel metal drum was cut, flattened, and worked into a delicately carved metal tray, christmas ornaments or wall art.
Every new area we visited exposed us to a new craft, but the ingenuity was pervasive throughout each art form. The goods created and sold provide economic empowerment through sustainable incomes enabling the artisans to provide for their families and send their children to school. It is inspiring to see that many of them are also teaching the next generation their craft.
Just a few weeks prior to our visit Hurricane Matthew, the strongest hurricane to hit Haiti in fifty years, had barreled down with 145 mile an hour winds. An estimated 1,000 lives were lost, regions destroyed, homes, livestock, and crops all gone. The rainy season has continued to flood areas affected by Hurricane Matthew, and I realized why the mountains were looking so lush and green at the moment. In Camp Perrin we visited Artisan Business Network embroiderers who were greatly impacted by the hurricane. The damage became increasingly clear as we neared the town and artists we visited had lost roofing and a season’s worth of embroidery work in the storm. When we arrived the artisans we met were eager to get back to work and busy rebuilding their lives, and their homes.
The Macy’s Heart of Haiti program currently employs 550 artisans, and by extension positively impacts the lives of their families. It is important to know that when you purchase their art and their work you are truly making an impact in the lives of the artisans and their families.
I feel incredibly grateful to have gotten a glimpse into the creative heartbeat of Haiti. It is tough for me to encapsulate the range of emotions upon visiting for the first time. It is such a tenuous time of political and economic uncertainty, compounded by natural disaster, yet seeing firsthand the raw beauty of this country, the richness in creativity and spirit of it’s people, and their passion for their homeland despite it’s flaws, I have to say I kind of fell in love. The proverb “Dye mon, gen mon.”, “Mountains Beyond Mountains” speaks to the peaks and valleys sure to come with life in Haiti, but really could work to some extreme for all of us, no matter where in the world we live.
There is some exciting traveling coming up for two of our editors at World Moms Network! One is embarking on her first trip to the US to connect with fellow World Moms, and the other is packing up well-needed supplies and heading to Haiti to support and learn from Artisans there.
Senior Editor, Kirsten Doyle of Running for Autism to travel to the USA to meet up with World Moms
In 2015 World Moms Kirsten Doyle and Mama Simona met in Cape Town, South Africa. This week, Kirsten Doyle of Canada is traveling to the US to meet World Moms, Jennifer Burden and Tes Silverman!
Kirsten Doyle has been volunteering her time to edit for World Moms Network, formerly World Moms Blog, for over 5 years. For the first time ever, she will meet with World Moms, Jennifer Burden and Tes Silverman (Pinay Perspective) in the USA! There have been countless video calls, emails and Facebook posts among the group, but they are super excited about their first face-to-face meeting.
“Kirsten has been editing since I went on maternity leave over 5 years ago, and she is a true rock to World Moms Network. Without women like herself who have stepped in when we needed them most, World Moms Network couldn’t be here today. I am so grateful, excited, and happy to meet her!”, says World Moms Network founder and CEO, Jennifer Burden.
Kirsten’s personal blog is Running for Autism, where she chronicles her family life in Canada, as well as, her life as a runner who fundraises for charities that support autism research. Her son George lives with autism, so the topic is close to Kirsten’s heart.
Over the past 5 years, she has had the pleasure to meet up with World Mom, Nicole Melancon of the USA, on Nicole’s trip to Toronto, and Mama Simona of South Africa, on her own trip to Cape Town. This is one of things World Moms talk about often behind the scenes — getting to meet each other in person!
The team in the US this weekend hopes to develop a creative training program for the women who write alongside them. Also, World Moms around the globe will be signing on to join them by video.
The upcoming meeting is for sure another milestone for us!
Managing Editor, Elizabeth Atalay of Documama, to head to Haiti to report on local artisans
Elizabeth Atalay of Documama is getting ready to embark on a trip to Haiti, where she will visit artisans there this week. She has packed up several suitcases full of relief items, too, for the people there, as not only is there widespread poverty on the island nation, but hurricane Matthew also took a devastating toll on the country this month.
One of Elizabeth’s passions has been to report on poverty issues throughout the globe, and this upcoming trip intertwines with another one of her passions, art.
“Over the years I’ve enjoyed painting, making pottery, photography, and paper making, and it’s no surprise that my daughter chose the path of art major at her high school. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to visit the artisans in Haiti in their work spaces, to learn more about their country and culture, and to get to see the creative processes that produce the beautiful Heart of Haiti pieces carried at Macy’s.”
The trip is being run by Macy’s, a department store in the US, and will focus around the Artisan Business Network, which matches artisans with markets for their goods outside of the country. Macy’s itself is one of those markets, as they sell Haitian art and wares in their stores. Elizabeth is the second World Mom to join this trip, as Nicole Melancon of Thirdeyemom also attended the reporting trip last year. We will be following Elizabeth’s trip on social media and the hashtag, #Bloggers4Haiti. Also, look out for her upcoming trip report for World Moms Network!
Today we celebrate girls around the world for International Day of the Girl. In 2012 the U.N. declared October 11th as The International Day of The Girl. In 2016 Girls and women are still dispropotionately facing discrimination, oppression, and subjugation around the world but a shift is underway. With girls and women figured prominently into the Sustainable Development Goals as SDG 5, Gender Equality, the world seems to be waking up to the fact that it is a problem to leave half the population behind. To educate a girl, is to educate a community, when girls are excluded from the education process, a nation is cheated out of half of its full potential.
“Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.” – United Nations
Here are some facts from the UN:
About two thirds of countries in the developing regions have achieved gender parity in primary education
In Southern Asia, only 74 girls were enrolled in primary school for every 100 boys in 1990. By 2012, the enrolment ratios were the same for girls as for boys.
In sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and Western Asia, girls still face barriers to entering both primary and secondary school.
Women in Northern Africa hold less than one in five paid jobs in the non-agricultural sector. The proportion of women in paid employment outside the agriculture sector has increased from 35 per cent in 1990 to 41 per cent in 2015
In 46 countries, women now hold more than 30 per cent of seats in national parliament in at least one chamber.
Only with equality can a community truly rise to its full potential. Girl are our future, and today we celebrate all girls around the world.
Last week, I attended my fifth Social Good Summit in New York City along with five other amazing friends from World Moms Network. The Social Good Summit is a unique convening of world leaders, new media and technology experts, grassroots activists and voices from around the world that come together for a two-day conference coinciding with the United Nations General Assembly meeting held during UN Week. The Summit is held at the 92nd Street Y and is truly a global conversation as it streamed around the world in multiple languages.
The Crew of World Changers from World Moms Network and other social good bloggers
The theme of the summit– #2030NOW: What kind of world do you want to see in 2030? – challenged speakers, participants and a growing worldwide community to explore how technology and new media can be leveraged to benefit people everywhere, to spark discussion and ignite change in creating a better world for all by the year 2030. The 7th Annual Summit was kicked off with a great promise to connect the world with more humanity and give everyone a voice in improving poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change through the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed upon last year by 193 global leaders at the UN General Assembly.
In July, the first report card was released that maps the scope of the SDGs progress, giving leaders an idea of the challenges that lie ahead in order to ensure the SDGs are achieved and no one is left behind. Much progress has been made thanks to the successes of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) yet much needs to be done in order to achieve the SDGs.
Some challenges that lie ahead include:
While poverty has been halved, 1 in 8 people were living in extreme poverty in 2012.
An estimated 5.9 million children under 5 died in 2015, mostly from preventable causes.
216 women died in childbirth for every 100,000 live births.
In 2013, 59 million children of primary school age were out of school and 26 per cent of women aged 20-24 reported that they were married before their eighteenth birthday.
In 2015, an estimated 663 million people were still using unimproved water sources or surface water.
World Moms Network contributors talking with Stephanie Sinclair, Founder of Too Young to Wed, about her quest to end child marriage around the world.
As we sat at the conference and listened to all the heartbreaking and inspiring tales facing people around the world it was hard at times not to get overwhelmed or discouraged. The amount of issues and acute challenges at times seem almost impossible. Quite frankly, it can also make one feel quite powerless.
Throughout the two day summit, we learned that there is much work to be done yet there is hope. The Social Good Summit is all about making a plan for the future. The world has a plan and 14 years to deliver it. Despite how enormous the challenges may seem, they are achievable and the Global Goals are our guidelines to make the world a better, more equitable place. It is clear that the future of our planet and our people depend upon it. And, every single human being has a role and a responsibility to make it happen.
Top Tweets of the Social Good Summit:
(Click here to watch a powerful video on what the Global Goals mean).
For me, Two things stuck: Carolyn Miles of Save the Children talking about refugees: “Refugees are people with skills great for opportunities”. And Tiq Milan, Journalist & Spokesperson for GLAAD re: LGBTQ in the Media: “My existence may complicate yours, but it doesn’t invalidate yours.”
For Jennifer Burden
“The UNICEF vigil for refugee children was the most moving for me. Standing in a crowd, holding up candles near the UN and listening to the stories of 4 children from around the world who were refugees was incredibly important and moving. The story of the boy who was kidnapped and was going to be sold if his parents didn’t pay ransom broke my heart. And when the high school choir sang John Lennon’s “Imagine” at the end, I lost it.”
For Nicole Morgan
Loved this … Imagine a world where children are innoculated for measles AND cancers. This is not about some day … but a moment, the days, a month … there is much we can do. #cancermoonshot is about never giving up. It is about promise. And hope. VP Joe Biden.
For all of us
Being together with such wonderful like-minded friends who we could share our hopes, our dreams and our fears together was amazing. Often during our busy lives as a mother, we don’t get much time to spend together with each other. It was amazing, inspiring and fun.
I was so moved by the Social Good Summit and the dedication, enthusiasm and commitment people have towards changing the world and making a more equitable place. Despite the immense challenges, there is hope. We can’t give up. We all must do our share.
This is an original post written for World Moms Network by Nicole Melancon.
In your mind what is the most pressing Sustainable Development Goal?