Rape has always been used as a weapon of war and women and girls are typically the victims of these heinous crimes.
To bring more awareness to sexual violence during conflict the United Nations General Assembly created the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict that will be commemorated on June 19 each year.
“Rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict constitute grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law,” President of the 193-member Assembly, Sam Kutesa, declared as he greeted the resolution’s adoption. “Yet these depraved acts still occur and are used to terrorize and control civilian populations in conflict zones.”
“The Journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”
— Lau Tzu, Chinese Philosopher
That inspirational quote has never rang more true than when considering the journey of thousands of successful women entrepreneurs around the world who started out with little more than a desire to provide the basic fundamental needs for their families.
Although female entrepreneurship has been steadily increasing over the last 10 or 15 years, there are still many hurdles to overcome. This is especially true for women in underprivileged communities here in the U.S. and abroad. While starting a new business is an uphill challenge for most budding entrepreneurs, for women living in poverty, it is often considered an impossible dream.
But seemingly insurmountable odds are no match for a woman with a burning passion to succeed.
It is in that gap, between the audacity of hope and the fulfilling of needs, that the Coca-Cola Company saw an opportunity to be of service.
On August 27th to September 4th, The Shanti Uganda Society will be hosting its fourth annual doula training in Uganda, East Africa, the country considered to be the Pearl of Africa. The program has been running since 2012 and has received much positive feedback. A previous student described her experience in 2013 as transformative, humbling and amazing.
“I left a part of my heart in Uganda after leaving all of the wonderful women and children I met there. I would love for others who too are passionate about maternal and infant health to experience what I did so that it cannot only fuel your passion for change but ignite an explosion for change.”
This idea of Shanti Uganda’s doula training being a catalyst to fuel one’s passion for global access to safe dignified birth care goes hand in hand with Shanti Uganda’s mission and core values. Since its founding in 2007, Shanti Uganda has been committed to providing holistic mother-centered care and bringing dignity back to birth in Uganda. Shanti Uganda creates positive global change through grassroots and community initiatives and connecting cultures across the globe. Participants are given a unique experience to be trained while immersed in Ugandan culture.
I met Jabulile Tlhabane, 57, in a small woman-owned restaurant on a busy road in Alexandra Township located about 60 minutes outside Johannesburg depending on the time of day and traffic. Alexandra, or Alex as the locals call it, is home to over a million people even though its resident capacity is intended to be capped at 100,000. That means stresses are rife on Alexandra’s overcrowded citizens from a lack of adequate health facilities, increasing teenage pregnancies, largely unreported violence against women, drug abuse, and a general absence of jobs and opportunities.
Tlhabane is a longtime member of Rebecca’s Well, a small nonprofit that provides help and healing for women and girls in need as well as microfinance and enterprising skills. I met with Tlhabane to learn more about their work. Rebecca’s Well was started by a Boston woman, Sheila Wise Rowe, who now calls South Africa home with her family.