Saturday, I went to a luncheon as the guest of a friend from high school with whom I got reacquainted in Summer 2012 when she became a Balance client. My friend is involved with a charity called Connecther which advocates for education and health-related issues for women and girls all over the world. The keynote speaker was Edna Adan, which if you know about the Half the Sky Movement from either the book or documentary, you know of her— she’s had a long and amazing life as a former first lady of Somalia, a UN ambassador, and other impressive titles. She was trained in the UK as a midwife in her young adulthood, and she always had a dream of opening a maternity hospital. She did just that– the Edna Adan Hospital in Somaliland has had amazing success improving the maternal mortality rate by providing basic prenatal and postpartum care. To hear this 76-year old woman speak is like having the breath of life in the same room. Just amazing. My friend knows that my passion lies in maternal health and wellness, and she thought I’d enjoy hearing about Edna’s work. I was so grateful for the invitation, and I thoroughly enjoyed the luncheon. The work that Connecther is doing is powerful, meaningful, and thoughtful.
But there was one more little thing that made the event even that much more amazing….my friend is Pakistani-American, so many of the people seated at our table were Pakistani, too. So I didn’t think much when this young Pakistani woman sat down next to me. I introduced myself, she introduced herself and asked me where I’m from and what I do. Then I asked her the same. Turns out, she is Khalida Brohi from Pakistan, and she turned 25 less than a week ago, and she’s been working since she was 16 to improve education and economic-skill-building for girls in rural villages. I ask her more about how this works, she tells me a lot of it is based on sewing and embroidery, and we start talking about how I sew, etc……
So this young woman, the one NEXT TO BONO while she was a guest of Clinton Global Initiative, was who I ate lunch with on Saturday.
Oh, and the night before, she found out she won the 2013 Coretta Scott King ANGEL award. You know: Advancing Nonviolence through Generations of Exceptional Leadership. No big whoop….
Needless to say, sitting next to a just-turned-25-year-old who is QUITE LITERALLY CHANGING THE WORLD is really, really a good way to make you feel like a SuperSchlub. But she was lovely. Truly. Couldn’t have been nicer or more humble or more genuinely interested in the answers to the questions she asked me.
Khalida’s organization is called Sughar Empowerment, and I urge those of you interested in supporting organizations that do real and meaningful work for girls and young women to check it out. I cannot tell you how blown away I was buy her wisdom, poise, and commitment.
Because the world works in fascinating ways, just last week I met with some friends from high school. We’re all turning 40 next year, so we decided to set ourselves the challenge to make small changes in our lives as a way of creating space and energy for the big changes we know we’re capable of bringing about.
Many thanks to Edna Adan and Khalida Brohi for inspiring great change in the lives of girls and women across the world. I am moved by Edna’s words, which will guide the changes I seek to bring about in my self and my world:
“If your heart believes it, then teach your hands to do it, and encourage your feet to walk towards it.”
Good health and great happiness to you.