International Women’s Day (a photo journey…)

Today we celebrate women & women’s rights as International Women’s Day 2013 activities highlight progress & continued challenges around the world.  I am so very blessed to have so many amazing women who impacted my life (click here to read my tribute last year) & to have encountered so many inspiring women of courage, creativity, ingenuity, faith & action in my years as a globetrotting relief & development worker.

So, on this special day take a photo journey with me to celebrate INTERNATIONAL WOMEN (& how far we’ve come!! : )

Morogoro home from officeThis favorite photo from Morogoro, Tanzania says it all: women multi-tasking myriad responsibilities on the way home from the office (children, groceries & office supplies) – in heels, no less!

So grateful for all the women who paved the way for opportunities to work. Last night we watched the movie ‘Pride & Prejudice.’ Charlotte, one of Elizabeth Bennett’s closest friends married a ‘beanhead’ because that was her only opportunity. At 27 with no prospects & a burden on her family, she told Elizabeth: “I’m scared…” Thank God that times have changed & now women have career choices vs. lives of unhappy choices.

Deir Samit Kindergarten (2)This photo, taken in the West Bank (Palestine), highlights the importance of education for girls – who become women.

Never take access to education for granted(!)  It’s still a challenge in many places where girls must tend livestock, fetch water (10 km?) and often are married off very young missing the opportunity for school. Education opens doors closed to the illiterate.  So grateful to tireless educators & advocators who open doors for girls to dream of a better future – & study to work for it.

Health Clinician KageraA trained health provider in Kagera, Tanzania, represents women in the medical field – doctors, scientists, nurses … so many opportunities to serve & provide access to health care for women from rural villages to the big cities.

So grateful for the women who forged these opportunities & I’ve been so blessed to interact with so many committed women doctors, nurses, health care workers in the battle against HIV/AIDS & malaria (& so much more!)

Indoesia Jakarta island business professors (2)These busy business professors in Indonesia trained women’s micro-enterprise groups to understand their markets & develop viable products to support their families. By working together as a group, supporting each other, sounding-boarding ideas, facilitating the flow of start-up funds for the eventual success of each member, these ladies did an outstanding job equipping women for success in the marketplace.

Celebrating the success of women in business & access to markets & opportunities for more women in corporate leadership roles..

KENYA Turkana women at water source (2)These women in Turkana, Kenya, manage the water source for their villages. Elected, selected, trained to do the job that serves their communities with the lifeline of water.

Celebrating women who serve their communities all around the world – from grass roots organizers, volunteers, managers of local resources to elected representatives, political party leaders, & Heads of State.  And, may there be more opportunities for women leaders in the years to come.

Uganda nun 2000 (2)This nun serves God & her community in Uganda, selflessly maintaining a tradition begun many years ago to be the extended Arms of the love of God to those in need. Thousands of women religious serve their countries & communities in so many ways – running schools, universities, clinics, hospitals, retreat centers …

Celebrating the continued impact of these dedicated women & those of all different traditions who lead & guide their communities to ‘keep the faith.’   (Whether that’s writing, pastoring, deaconing, eldering, mentoring, teaching, volunteering – as ‘faith builders.’)

Thailand train(2)This photo (taken on a moving train with the wind blowing through the open window) made me wonder what sacrifices this grandmother made for her grand-daughter?  As we celebrate new opportunities, let us never forget the women who sacrificed so much to let us be who we CAN be today.

So grateful for the older women in our midst who are treasure troves of experience, advice & love.  Let us honor them & celebrate their lives.

Kosovo Mirlinda (2)This photo represents women who have survived war & conflicts & who continue to suffer as victims of violence around the world, & those who help them, like Mirlinda pictured here in the rubble of the Kosovo conflict.

As we celebrate how far we’ve come, we still have far to go fighting violence against women, domestic abuse & all evil that degrades women into ‘things’ vs. our status as beloved daughters of our Heavenly Creator.  So grateful for courageous women around the world who continue the battle for justice, awareness, & support for victims to speak out & break out of repressive systems & oppressive relationships.

Tanzania Mother and Child Magole (3)To conclude our International Women’s Day journey, here’s one of my favorite all-time pics taken in Tanzania (a framed, super-sized version hung on my office wall in Dar es Salaam) to celebrate MOTHERS.  Happy mothers.   What a responsibility & what a gift of sacrifice to bring little beings into existence & form them into People.

On this special day as some mothers juggle careers, husbands & children while others devote their all to mothering (& managing a home & a husband & & &…) we celebrate the Gift of Motherhood (& thank our moms for being all they could & would & did!)

To me it seems that being a mother is one of the most courageous things a woman can do (& continue doing! Mothering doesn’t stop, my 78 yr old Mama will tell you, ‘specially when there are grandchildren & great-grandchildren to hover over! : )


grace, peace & gender equality

Virginia : )

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.  ~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~

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2 Responses to International Women’s Day (a photo journey…)

  1. Beatrice Tanzania says:

    I loved the message and contents . God bless you.

    • Virginia says:

      Beatrice – your inspirational example of combating malaria is helping women become more of who they are meant to be — ninakushukuru sane SANE SANE!!!

      grace, peace & Inspiring Women – dada Virginia : )

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