So, I never really considered myself a PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) kind of girl. I mean, first they hooked me with The Joy of Painting and Bob Ross (which is still kind of cheesy and I don’t love to admit it). Then I had kids and I got further sucked in to the kids’ programming. And Lord, don’t even get me started on Downton Abbey. I will quickly digress. There’s also a new program called “Call the Midwife” that’s based on a series of books that I really enjoyed too. (The first show was just ehh, but I’m going to watch next week to see if it’s any better. Some books just don’t translate to TV.)
And then… well, then, there’s the documentary that just aired over two evenings this week called “Half the Sky.” It’s based on the book of the same name. And man, I needed tissues and the DVR just to be able to hang in there for it. I was prepared of what to expect since I read the book earlier this year (one of the many things that “messed me up”). But seeing these women who are affected by rape, abuse, incest, marginalized women and children who have no value or worth in their societies? I’m STILL processing what I saw. I can’t encourage you enough to check it out. Not to be depressed or feel hopeless, but because the only way to advocate is to educate! You can watch it online and I’ve also heard it will be available on Netflix soon.
Now once you’ve watched, and you feel slightly overwhelmed with what you see, keep in mind that EVERYONE can do SOMETHING!
You could link arms with the group that is highlighted in the first part in Vietnam – Room to Read http://www.roomtoread.org by supplying financial backing. You could even use your birthday as a time to raise money for their work instead of receiving presents! They have an easy link right on that page to find out more.
Or you could shop the Somaly Mam Foundation’s store to help victims of sex trafficking (part one, Cambodia). Here is an easy link to that http://www.empowermentstore.org Here are beautiful silk scarves made by the survivors for sale on that site. They have jewelry and books too.
Can’t decide which organization? Join in at crowdrise and make a blanket donation and they’ll get the money to the different groups they work with, most of which are included in the documentary. http://www.crowdrise.com/halftheskymovement
But really, when all is said and done, just do something. Buying fair trade and being socially responsible in your consumption choices will make a huge difference in lives of women and men around the world. But if you want to do something before you make that little leap, just pray for people. That’s easy, free and can make all the difference in the world. And the fact is that it makes a difference IN you. Your heart will be softened and you’ll find that opportunities to bless vulnerable people will come to you.
“Talent is universal, opportunity is not.” – Nick Kristof, author Half the Sky