Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

So many stories and images to share from last week in the Netherlands. Here’s one of my favorites:
Subhash MaggieHe’s 22, and from Aarupokhari, Nepal. You fly to Kathmandu, he says, take a bus a few hours, then walk for two days. He hopes I’ll come this summer.

“Then they’ll really take me seriously!” he exclaimed over dinner at the Rotterdam Cafe.

He has one photo of himself as a child. When he was five Save the Children came to his village with a camera. Now he writes for the Huffington Post and studies political science at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Last summer he went back to his village with 1600 books, a team of volunteers and two computers. And so Aarupokhari has its first library and enjoyed its first summer camp for kids. The library’s named in memory of his Mother, who died because they didn’t have roughly $200. Next he’s building a school. Subhash Ghimire is a young man you’ll be hearing more about.

And who’s that lovely lady in the floppy hat? She’s 23, from New Jersey, and lives in Surkhet, Nepal with 27 kids. That’s understating the matter, though. Maggie Doyne has placed over 700 children with local family members. She has the conversation with the families, “If you feel like you need to sell them, we can help you. You don’t have to feel that way any more.” What other 23-year-olds do you know who have that conversation? She built the house herself, with the villagers, on land she bought with her babysitting money. She’s handled tuition for about 100 other kids, not to mention medical care. This is a little woman who thinks big and get things done! If we lived in the same town… Lord have mercy on the PTA (or whatever we put our minds to). It would never be the same.

Together these two twenty-somethings are transforming Nepal. This weekend they formed a posse. It includes Mama Lucy of Tanzania who’ll help with curriculum at their schools, Ania Lichota originally of Poland, who’ll climb Everest in the Spring to raise money for Subhash’s school; Renu Bagaria, who’s educating street kids in Kathmandu; and Jen Lemen, who makes magic happen on a regular basis; she’ll make it all go down without a hitch. We all hatched some big plans this last weekend, let me tell you.

And the beautiful photo? That’s what happens when you give Stefan, my handsome husband, a camera and set him loose to shoot. Here are a few more…
toyinToyin’s from Nigeria. She empowers young girls and women through ICT (Internet & computer technologies). We met at BlogHer in Chicago last summer.

Here’s acclaimed San Francisco artist Andrea Fono, who had us all painting together Saturday night. As you can imagine from the photo, it was FUN!
Andrea Fono And here’s one of Reinder Schonewille, who helped a lot with event logistics in his native Netherlands:


More stories from the week to follow, that’s for sure. There are enough for a year of blog posts.

Big Challenge, Bigger Rewards

Organizing the European Summit for Global Transformation… hmmm… what to say?  People from all over the planet… from Poland, Latvia, Nepal, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Texas, New York, California, the Netherlands, Switzerland… and so many other places are coming.  A young woman from Nepal who runs a free evening school for impoverished kids in Kathmandu wrote to me today that there is a paradigm shift bringing more urban poor into effective education.  Yes, there is certainly a paradigm shift, and it is toward a lot more than just that.

That is the only way I can explain what is happening with the Summit.  Ordinary people around the world are standing up and saying, “This shall be.”  It shall be that people have clean drinking water and access to education and human rights… across the board for everyone.

And so by golly I can say THIS SHALL BE about this Summit.  About Innocent Bajeneza and Mama Lucy making their first trips outside of Africa safely and without a hitch.  And to raising funds for these 8 young women (below) to come.  I have one week.  It’ll take donations of plane seats or train fare, money for meals and hotel rooms.  I have no idea how it’ll happen, but they are each deserving, motivated, award-winning champions of human rights and education for girls and women in their home countries and they are all in London at King’s College for just six months.  They should be there and take what they learn and all the resources they encounter back to Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Ghana, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Do you know how to help?  We need several thousand dollars within one week.  We will connect them with other changemakers from around the world, with fundraisers and support services galore.  Working together we amplify all our impact.

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From the left side at the back Myriam, Vicky, Shuvai, Debra and Toyin. From Left in the front: Selam, Saramba and Phidelia