Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
These last lines in Maya Angelou’s poem, ‘Phenomenal Woman’ were scrawled on the inside of a bathroom I entered when I was in Jakarta and I thought how apt it was given my meetings with some of the Global Fund for Women’s grantees and their brave and brilliant work.… Continue Reading
“In this moment when we face horizons and conflicts wider than ever before, we want our resources, the ways of strength. We look again to the human wish, its faiths, the means by which the imagination leads us to surpass ourselves.” said the poet and activist, Muriel Rukeyser.
I thought of these poetic lines when our delegation of women leaders in Burma sat listening to the stories told to us by Burmese women who were essentially revolutionary leaders, placing themselves at the front line for their beliefs.… Continue Reading
Today, on December 10th, International Human Rights Day in Burma, I met Aung San Suu Kyi. The tingling I felt wasn’t just from the experience of meeting this extraordinary woman of courage, grace, determination and resilience, it was also from the convergence of meeting her in Burma, itself at a tipping point, and meeting her on the first International Human Rights Day to be commemorated in this country since 1988.
Years ago I’d torn out of magazines the romantic images of Aung San Suu Kyi with her husband, Michael Aris, soon after their marriage, entranced by the image of them both, and so conscious in looking at these pictures, of their lives, their destiny, since that time.… Continue Reading
“See those girls there,” a female pastor says from the back-seat of the vehicle we’re in, pointing to a group of girls who looked between 11-15 years of age; they are likely part of a prostitutes ring encouraged by older girls.
Prostitution is increasingly common in Papua New Guinea, especially for girls needing income for themselves and their families in order to get an education. The cost of going to college is between $US3,000 and $US6,500 per year. And for many people who struggle on the poverty line for most of their lives, the dream of an education for themselves or their family is just that.… Continue Reading
The Pacific is a world removed, a forgotten corner of the earth for many, however to me it is a place of such immeasurable beauty, a sing sing culture. In this environment, flying in a small plane across the country is pure joy. As the plane skids to a stop, I can see young and old people who look like colored dots as they swamp the roof of the airport and rattle the cage of the wired gates that keeps them outside.… Continue Reading