Archives for November 2011

Hope & Justice: Women in Africa by Silent Images

Photo courtesy of Silent Images

Who risks being raped every 26 seconds?  Who walks up to eight hours a day just to find water?  Who does back-breaking labor for the profit of others but is never allowed to participate in ownership?

W O M E N

More precicely, Women in Africa.

I want to introduce you to Silent Images, a non-profit organization that tells stories of hope in the midst of persecution, poverty and/or oppression through journalistic photography, videography, and writing. 

In their film short, Facts about Women in Africa, the following statistics, photographs and music intertwine to tell a story we might never have otherwise heard.  They draw our attention, raise awareness, educate, inspire and then give back to the women and communities they document.  

  • Sixty percent of Ethiopian Women are subjected to sexual violence
  • Two-thirds of the world’s illiterate people are Women
  • Women now account for 75% of all people living with AIDS in Africa
  • Women provide 70% of agricultural labor, but only 1% own the land they farm in Kenya
  • A Woman is raped every 26 seconds in South Africa
  • One in 23 Women in Africa die during childbirth, compared to one in 4,000 in North America
  • Seventy-two percent of African Girls never enter High School, and 96% don’t attend college or university
  • Thirty percent of Women in Egypt walk over one hour a day to meet water needs
  • Women spend eight hours a day collecting water in some parts of Africa

WATCH THE SHORT FILM: “Facts about Women in Africa” (2009)

David Johnson, Founder & President of Silent Images

Founder and President, David Johnson, specializes in documentary photography. Through his passion to document persecuted and oppressed women and people around the world, he raises awareness and money for the indigenous people. The stories and photographs by Silent Images are provided to non-profit organizations in an effort to educate and be a voice for the voiceless around the world.  His trademark?  To always find the hope in the midst of the injustice.

You may also be interested in David Johnson’s book: “Voice of Beauty: a photographic celebration of African Women

Contact David Johnson or visit the Silent Images Website, and tell a friend!

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

Share

Making Your Moments Count: Living Outside Yourself

Me, Me, Me… It’s all about ME!  Do you know people who talk, act and live with that philosophy?  One word: Boring.  We often hear the phrase: Get a Life — but these people already have a life.  They simply aren’t motivated to do much with it.  At least, not beyond themselves.  A simple scroll through the TV channels, social media pages, advertisements and airwaves will validate that!

A myriad of messages clamor for our attention, vying for our investments and begging us for just one more look at what they have to offer.  And what do they have to offer?  Or should I say, what do they want to sell us?  They tell us they want us to be happier, more comfortable, more sophisticated, more beautiful–richer, sexier, powerful, and more desirable.  All of this, as if to say, they have our “best interest in mind”.

But do they have our best interest in mind?  Will we really feel like a new woman if we use a particular brand of makeup, wear designer clothes, or style our hair in a particular way?  Will we be more satisfied if we live in bigger houses, drive fancier cars, or get invited into an elite social circle? Will the latest romance novel, vacation getaway, event, promotion, award or relationship really satisfy us beyond the moments we spend on them?  Or, do the “satisfaction brokers” really have their own best interest in mind–in large part, to make money? 

MAKING YOUR MOMENTS COUNT

But even with the bombardment of external messages we receive, we still have a choice. We can choose to flit from one self-indulgent, self-medicated, self-serving moment at a time, day in and day out–allowing meaningless “stuff” to fill the moments in our lives; Or, we can choose to invest in our moments by breathing life into the things that really matter and that make the world a better place.

“We can choose to simply live in the moments or choose to make our moments live” –April McCallum

When we choose to make our moments live, we choose to not only be present in the moments of our lives, in essence, but to make conscious choices to make those moments matter.  When we make our moments live, they take on an organic nature allowing them to impact other moments.

By contrast, if we live ingrown lives only to satisfy ourselves, that’s all we’ll get—moments of self-gratification. Woo-hoo, put on your party hats! …Or, not.  Because those moments, like little monsters with insatiable appetites, are always demanding more, and more is never enough.  They bring about an unsettled striving, a perpetual movement from one thing to the next, and the cycle repeats itself.

I like beautiful things, creature comforts, experiencing exciting new places and putting on a party hat as much as the next girl, but there needs to be more than just that.

LIVING ON PURPOSE

I love the term “Living on Purpose” especially when we’re talking about intentionally living beyond ourselves in some way.  “Intentionally” is an action word, a process–in this case, something in positive motion. It’s about being motivated and fulfilled by purposing to make a difference in other people’s lives, by giving rather than just taking.

Because life begets life, our choices and actions pave the way for regeneration.

It’s about women (and people in general) who want their life to count, and the moments in their lives to count. They look for ways to leave a valuable imprint that will act as an inspiration and challenge for others who aren’t quite there yet.

And there’s even a surprise ending.  By living outside ourselves and making our moments count, we always receive a reward–our investment gives back!  Do you want more joy, peace, love or fulfillment in your life?  Simply start making your moments count by living outside yourself.  Invest in the things that really matter.  

“The things that you do for yourself, die with you, but the things that you do for others, live on”

Are you living your life simply for the moments, or are you making your moments count?   

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

Share

Women, War & Peace’s: “Peace Unveiled” Explores Justice for Afghan Women

Women, War & Peace: “Peace Unveiled”

What do a parliamentarian who participated in writing the Constitution of Afghanistan that guarantees equal rights for women, a young Afghan woman from Kabul, and a former midwife have in common?

A quest for Peace and Justice.

Can you imagine living in a place where women and girls still have to fight just to get an education, religious equality and the opportunity to earn money? A place where mobile phones, video cameras and music, apart from sanctioned radio stations, are banned? Where even today, many women are not allowed to drive or even show their face in public? A place where fear and darkness hover over your every thought and movement and it seems there is no chance of hope for your future?

The HRC (Human Rights Watch) reports that women are often subjected to threats, intimidation and violence in Taliban-controlled areas. And although it is against the law, some still impose the “brutal customary punishments such as baad, where women and girls are given as compensation for crimes”.  Read the full article: “Afghanistan: Stop Women Being Given as Compensation”.

Women, War and Peace’s: Peace Unveiled documents the struggles and efforts that these three women walked through as they united around a common cause–to secure peace and justice for themselves and future generations.  It is the third installment in the documentary special: Women, War & Peace, a mini-series that highlights the powerful role of women in conflict zones around the globe.

The clashing of their fear that the demands of Taliban rule would eradicate the forward movement of women in Afghanistan with an overwhelming desire to see their dreams of a peaceful and prosperous future for them and their children spurred them to action.

In Peace Unveiled, we follow these three courageous women who “maneuver against formidable odds to have their voices heard in a peace jirga and high peace council.”  The film takes you behind Kabul’s closed doors as their case is made to U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.

In 2006, Safia Ahmed-jan, a provincial director of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs was gunned down outside her home in apparent retribution for her efforts to help educate women and girls, according to officials.

In 2011, a woman and her daughter were stoned and shot to death in an area between Kabul and Kandahar by a group of armed men who targeted them for moral retribution, according to security sources. 

It is important to celebrate forward movement, but it is equally important to understand what remains the same.

The United States and NATO repeatedly report that reconciliation talks with the Taliban must contain guarantees that women’s rights will be protected–a clear moral and human rights shift–but it still remains to be seen where the value will eventually be placed and whose voice will be heard in the end.  

So where do we go from here?

Does hope elude the future of Afghan women and girls? Is there still a chance for peace? We hold out hope, yes!  And we will always remain grateful for those who have risked so much to help secure freedom and liberty in this volatile region of the world. But we must continue to pray and take action to help bring about lasting peace and freedom for the women and people of Afghanistan.

Read the Report by Human Rights Watch: “Afghan Women and the Risks of Reintegration and Reconciliation”

Watch the Trailer: Peace Unveiled

Buy the DVD (includes all segments in the Series)

Visit the Website for Women, War & Peace

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women– “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

Share

When We Call Evil Good

Millions of people, mostly women and children, are trapped in human trafficking and sexual slavery today. Violence, greed, global economic instability, child pornography and a myriad of substance addictions are at an all-time high. Like a train that has lost its breaks, the human appetite and conscience appear to be speeding faster and faster out of control.

Like children who put their fingers in their ears not wanting to hear anything negative, we can become numb to the glut of nightly news reports. We want to think about happy things. We delude ourselves with the falsity that evil is happening someplace far away, someplace where it won’t touch us. We imagine that if it were to come close, “someone somewhere” would take care of us, ensuring our comfort and safety. But are we safe? Will someone come to rescue us? And what about personal responsibility?

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” -Edmund Burke

The world has experienced massive waves of violence and terrorist attacks, a complete disregard for human life on a variety of levels, a breakdown of common sense, and lack of civility with our neighbors. We’ve seen irresponsible calls to action that jeopardize the long-term stability of nations, families and individuals.  And, the erosion of what use to be considered “common” decency and foundational values, a nonchalance about the presence and perpetuation of good and evil, and an irrational level of tolerance that in some cases, promotes the exact opposite of what it advertises. 

It’s easy to become disillusioned or hardened when governments and institutions become corrupt, families disintegrate and people we looked up to fail us. The times are ripe for cynicism to flourish, belief systems to crumble and hearts to grow cold.

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” –Isaiah 5:20

The question is not if evil exists, but what we decide to do about it. As is the case with most things, it comes down to a choice. Will you stand on the sidelines watching to see if things get worse?  Will you wait to see if someone else steps in to make things better?  Or, will you get involved because it is the right thing to do? 

Darkness begets darkness, but remember– light also begets light. Put another way: Death begets death and life begets life.  

“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself”  -Thomas Paine

We can look at the despicable things going on in the human race today and say the sky is falling and bury our heads in fear and trepidation.  We can carry on with our lives trying to ignore the reality of evil masquerading both in seduction and horror, hoping it will never touch us as we continue medicating and indulging ourselves into oblivion.

Or, we dispel the evil–the darkness–with Light. We take the hand of Hope, rise up and link arms with our fellow humans who are suffering and in bondage, and say: Enough is enough. We Choose Sanity!  We Choose Freedom!  We Choose Life!

© By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

Share

Human Trafficking Novel: Deliver Me From Evil

Deliver Me From Evil is the inaugural book in the Freedom Series by award-winning author Kathi Macias.  The novel serves as a catalytic spark raising awareness for the millions trapped in sexual slavery and calls for nothing less than the abolition of human trafficking.

Earlier this month, I announced a chance to win a free copy of the book, Deliver Me From Evil in my interview with author, Kathi Macias.  I’m pleased to announce Bev Littau as the winner in our random drawing on October 31st.

Deliver Me from Evil introduces readers to Mara, an eighteen-year-old girl who has been enslaved for nearly ten years, having been sold by her parents in Mexico and then smuggled across the border into San Diego where she was forced into sexual slavery. Readers will also meet 18-year-old, Bible-college-bound Jonathan and his 16-year-old sister, Leah, whose paths cross Mara’s and who become involved in her dramatic rescue.

Interwoven between the stories of Mara, Jonathan, and Leah is the heartbreaking story of another young woman in captivity in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, whose past life mysteriously connects to the young people in San Diego.

Evil is the enemy of life, love and freedom.  It chokes the breath out of dreams and destinies. It cannot be flirted with, negotiated with or haphazardly allowed to exist, because it always seeks to rob, steal and destroy.

Read the First Two Chapters FREE

Buy the Book

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

Share
©Destiny's Women™ is a blog founded, written and published by April McCallum -- "Championing the Life, Freedom and Destiny of Women" Creative Commons License
This work by April McCallum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.