Staying in touch is harder to do than I ever imagined it would be.
Writing to you and keeping you in the loop is easy! It’s the young women in the communities we serve that are harder to keep up track of.
We work with girls around the globe in remote places where they deal with limited resources and access to things that we take for granted, such as electricity, internet, safe spaces to gather, and local organizational support .
We’ve done a very good job at partnering with organizations in the communities we work in, so that we have a life-line to the young women who’ve taken our programs so we can check in with them and see what they still need, how they are meeting their goals and expanding their lives. even after we have gone.
People ask "do you keep in touch with all the girls that you deliver leadership courses to?" And my answer is that we try our very best and sometimes we lose track of a young women along the way. This is always hard for me because I remember each one of them, her story, her struggles and her dreams. I often lay awake at night wondering where they are and what they are doing. But I’m comforted by knowing that no matter what, they are in a better place from experiencing and being a part of our community, for learning about themselves, how to communicate, shifting their internal dialog and self perceived value.
In this newsletter I’m going to share with you one special young woman who has done an amazing job of keeping us in her life even though we are thousands of miles apart.
Her name is Thuli, she’s from South Africa and we met her when we went there to work with survivors of sexual violence in 2014
She has shared some amazing ups and some devastating downs over the past couple of years. Her spirit is so resilient and her will to overcome despite everything stacked against her gives me hope, that no matter what a young woman may face, if she has the internal tools to meet challenges, think critically and trust in her abilities to lead her own life, then she can change the world! And it starts with one girl at a time believeing that she can.
Thuli stood out in our group as a natural leader, she showed up every day on time, and was always willing to do the hard internal work. She couragiously told her story for our documentary project, and she also took what she learned from our workshop and shared it with young girls in her community. She teaches dance to children at a community center, and she organizes camping trips for them and experiences that they would never get to have without her in their lives. She spends her own very limited money to make this happen.
She records and shares written stories of women in her community and because of Global Sorority and the EOS workshop she decided that she was worthy of going back to school. She also took a small grant and turned it into a money making business venture printing garments.
This all sounds like it was rainbows and smooth sailing but what I didn’t mention was that Thuli lost her adoptive mother and mentor, a valuable amazing woman in the local township that i was privaleged to meet. it was a huge loss for many but it was devistating for Thuli. She had to temporarily drop out of school to help her blind brother who lost his sight from being beaten by a gang, And she suffered a world of other road blocks that I often wonder what I would ever do to keep going if I were in her possition.
Through it all, her proud moments and moments of deep shame and sadness, she writes and tells me how grateful she is that we came into her life. And changed everything for the better.
And that was only possible because of you.
Our big ask this year is to help us build our online platform so that we can more easily stay connected to the girls that we work with all over the world, and to continued to provide community, support, education and mentorship even when we can't be there in person. Please consider being a sponsor of this next big project so that the Thulis of the world don’t slip through the cracks.
A poem By Thuli
It takes those kinds of wounds to be that kind of a woman.
Those kinds of wounds making you feel like it’s the end of the world.
Those kinds of wounds that make you feel worthless, useless and human less.
Those kinds of wounds that take you to a world of loneliness, confusion and destruction.
Wounds that make you hate yourself so much that you don’t want to be a woman anymore.
It takes these kinds of wounds to be that kind of a women.
Wounds of a broken heart, abuse, violation, humiliation. Were everything that you once were. Is no more.
These kinds of wounds to be this kind of a women.
A woman of courage
A woman of integrity
A woman of self love and respect
The kind of a woman who doesn't take a yes for a no and a no for a yes
The kind of a woman who is not put down by negative talk
A women who has taken all her power to all those that have wronged her, by forgiving them, and letting go.
A woman who's confidence is heard in her speech, and felt by speaking all positive things to herself.
It takes those kinds of wounds to be this kind of a women.