Lizzloves's Blog

Spreading love and sisterhood…

LizzLoves Samar Minallah Khan July 6, 2015

Photo courtesy of samarminallahkhan.com

Photo courtesy of samarminallahkhan.com

More and more these days, I’ve been hearing both women and men say that feminism is not a women-only movement. It’s been interesting to see how men have added their voices and influence to the movement, and how women have engaged them and leveraged their involvement to fuel progress.

One such woman is filmmaker Samar Minallah Khan who has focused her work on bringing an old Pakistani practice to the spotlight — swara, where a daughter is given away as payment for a crime. After several years of studying the practice and its victims, Khan, who is an anthropologist and documentarian, produced a documentary in 2003 called Swara—A Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Her work initially addressed all sides of the practice, incorporating all voices just to give the full picture to educate viewers. However, what struck her most were the men who had the courage to refuse to give their daughters away. She told NPR:

“Men, too, face hurdles for speaking up and for challenging norms,” she says. “Standing up in the face of society and country expectations, that takes a lot of courage.”

And their bravery paid off. In 2004, Pakistan outlawed swara, making it illegal to give away daughters to compensate for crimes.

Khan was recently honored as one of five women honored with a Global Leadership Award by Vital Voices, a group founded by Hillary Clinton after the World Conference of Women in Beijing in 1995.

Thank you for your activism, Samar. I look forward to following your work that challenges norms and gives voice to untold stories!

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LizzLoves Kangu April 4, 2013

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Think about the last time you made a donation to a charity. What motivated you to reach for your credit card? For me, I have to feel like I’m part of something, of effecting change, in very personal way. One of my new favorite charities for that type of buy-in is Kangu.

This nonprofit uses a combination of old school (i.e. Save the Children) and new school (crowdfunding) tools to support women in developing countries to have pregnancies, births and newborn babies that are safe and healthy. According to Kangu’s site, “It has been shown that 80% of maternal mortality can be avoided if a woman is given access to the basic healthcare services our partners offer.”

Founders Casey Santiago and Tricia Morente (both Columbia Business School MBAs and grads of the Masters program for International Affairs at Columbia), designed this program to allow donors to have a tangible and more intimate connection with the women they are supporting. The way it works is:

  1. You search Kangu’s collection of mothers from across the globe who need help to find the “mama” you want to fund.
  2. Once you choose her, you begin to make monthly contributions to fund her safe pregnancy by giving her quality healthcare.
  3. Your contribution ensures the chance for a safe birth for her baby

I love that Kangu’s team is not only making efforts to solve this issue, but also that they discovered an innovative way to engage their donors/supporters in a uniquely personal way. I look forward to finding a “mama” to connect with so that she can experience the joy and security of having a healthy pregnancy and future child.

 

LizzLoves USAID’s “Why Invest In Women” Infographic June 13, 2012

Why Invest in Women?With so many people in need across the globe, and you consider pitching in to effect change, you might often ask yourself,

  • Who needs the most help?
  • Where can I focus my efforts?
  • What community can benefit most from my contribution?

Well, there are many answers to that question, but USAID offers one answer by using an infographic to show you what kind of impact can be made when you invest in women. The infographic, called “Why Invest In Women?,” includes facts about infant mortality, education, HIV, agriculture and leadership in politics.

Click here for the full infographic, “Why Invest In Women?”