Yesterday, I had the great fortune to meet Molly Melching and hear her speak. Molly is the founder of Tostan, an international nonprofit with headquarters in Dakar, Senegal. Tostan’s mission is to create a world “where everyone is treated equally and respectfully.” They promote human rights education, with an important piece of their work being ending the harmful practice of female genital cutting and forced child marriage. Their success comes from their work model of a three year program empowering communities to make their own choices for health and well-being. Hearing Molly speak was very inspiring and encouraging.
My husband and I were told recently, by someone dear to my heart, that we do “nothing of any importance” to make the world a better place. I know that is a completely misguided statement; the person who said it, though loved by me, knows nothing about the small, day to day activities that Craig and I engage in. I don’t even think about those things; I just do them. Still, the comment did make me question my work in society more than I already was.
When I came back from Uganda, I mentioned here that I had had a life changing experience that made me realize I wanted to do more. In the months since then I’ve been exploring ways of playing a more active role in effecting social change. There are the physical, more tangible things that you get up and go do, like join a rally, write a check, or volunteer your time. Then there are the more subtle acts of simply spreading information, talking to people, posting things on Facebook (which is where we got in trouble). I had been thinking much on the value of hashtag activism vs. “boots on the ground” activism. A few days later, I saw the link Karen of SewandSowLife posted on Facebook about “small offerings”, everybody doing their small piece to create big change. Her post was salve on a wound, and it helped me to clarify for myself one direction I wanted to go in to support human rights.
I’ve decided to devote one day a week here on the blog to current social issues. I’m going to call it Friday Activism. This will be one of my “small offerings”, because I believe we can make change by doing small things, by raising awareness. Social media is ubiquitous, and putting messages out there – on blogs, Facebook, Twitter – that someone might read and want to know more about is a way of effecting change.
My plan is to choose a topic from the millions of things happening every day, learn what I can about the topic and what action can be taken, then share it here with you. It’s hard to keep up with everything going on in the world, and there is so much that isn’t discussed on the news. In addition to spreading the word, this will help me educate myself on the state of human rights in the world.
I hope you are on board with this.
To learn more about Molly Melching and Tostan click here.