Celebrating the International Day of the Girl

International Day of the Girl Child
Indonesia.

October 11th is the first-ever International Day of the Girl Child –  a day dedicated to recognizing girls’ rights and advancing their lives and access to opportunities.

International Day of the Girl Child
India

In honor of this day, I encourage you to participate in your own way. Educate yourself about girls’ issues. (I highly recommend the powerful book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, written by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.) Support a nonprofit organization of your choosing. Visit the Participate tab for more ways to get involved, or search GuideStar – a directory of charities and nonprofits.

International Day of the Girl Child
Cambodia

To inspire you, I’ve included a collage of pictures of girls and young women that I have met during my travels from Cambodia to South Africa.

International Day of the Girl Child
South Africa

The world is not interested in what we do for a living. What they are interested in is what we have to offer freely – hope, strength, love and the power to make a difference! 

-Sasha Azevedo

International Day of the Girl Child
Tunisia

How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.

-Anne Frank

International Day of the Girl Child
Spain

We must become the change we want to see in the world.

-Gandhi

International Day of the Girl Child
Laos

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.

-Helen Keller

International Day of the Girl Child
Vietnam

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.

-Margaret Mead

International Day of the Girl Child
Cambodia

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

-Robert F. Kennedy

International Day of the Girl Child
Laos

Go out into the world and do good until there is too much good in the world.

-Larry H. Miller

International Day of the Girl Child

To him who is determined it remains only to act.

-Italian Proverb

International Day of the Girl Child
Laos

We have it in our power to change the world over.

-Thomas Paine

International Day of the Girl Child
Cambodia

I feel that the greatest reward for doing is the opportunity to do more.

-Dr. Jonas Salk

International Day of the Girl Child
Cambodia

Your thoughts, words and deeds are painting the world around you.

-Jewel Diamond Taylor

International Day of the Girl Child
Indonesia

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can.

-Sydney Smith

International Day of the Girl Child
Malta

We can do no great things – only small things with great love.

Mother Teresa

International Day of the Girl Child
South Africa

The mind has exactly the same power as the hands: not merely to grasp the world, but to change it.

-Colin Wilson

International Day of the Girl Child
Indonesia

If it is to be, it is up to me.

-Unknown

International Day of the Girl Child
Cambodia

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

International Day of the Girl Child
Cambodia

Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.

-Eleanor Roosevelt

What girls or young women have inspired you close to your home or during your travels? Please also share your ideas for making the world a better place!

 

The Beguiling Backwaters of Kerala, India

Kerala’s backwaters are beguiling. Life moves at a slower pace on these famous waterways and there’s a distinct sense that dreams can effortlessly be born and nurtured there.  The quiet lagoons and lakes are about 45 minutes from the pleasant tourist town of Fort Kochi, making them the perfect spot to escape the hustle and bustle that is standard, but fascinating fare in India.

Continue reading “The Beguiling Backwaters of Kerala, India”

Seeing Beyond a Physical Challenge – Profiling the Inspirational Isabell Pfeufer

You may remember my having met German university student, Isabell Pfeufer, in late 2009. Introduced to her by a former colleague, I was invited to write a newspaper piece on Isabell’s experiences – as a blind student teacher – with a classroom of third-graders.

In the years following that interview, I’ve been delighted to have several chance meetings with Isabell on Heidelberg’s bustling Hauptstrasse, as she went about her errands and met up with friends.

Shortly before leaving Heidelberg for our Asian sabbatical, Shawn and I met with Isabell at a Heidelberg coffee house so that we could catch up. During our chat, Isabell talked about her dream to move to the United States to work with children or youth with special needs. Isabell is anticipating taking her final exams in October of 2012, so she still has a bit of time to find a position in an American city with a good public transportation system that will allow her to be independent.

Continue reading “Seeing Beyond a Physical Challenge – Profiling the Inspirational Isabell Pfeufer”