As I sat listening to Sally Armstrong, an award winning journalist who has covered zones of conflict all over the world for the past 25 years, I was mesmerized by her stories of women who are courageously altering the status quo for themselves and igniting others to do the same around the world. She was sharing stories from her recently released book titled Uprising.
When asked “what can we do,” one of her responses was this:
“Your most powerful weapon is your voice.” — Sally Armstrong (tweet this)
Her stories demonstrate the power we can wield when we are willing to speak up.
As I wrote about previously, Malala Yousafzai literally risked her life when she chose to go to school. She was shot in the head and left for dead. She is now a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 16 and is on a mission to educate girls around the world.
Sally Armstrong risked her life to travel into dangerous places to tell a story that likely put her in even more danger. She shared that, for most of that time, she did not have any good news to share until more recently.
Her message is now one of hope that the voices of women who have been oppressed and brutalized for centuries are being heard. And it is the young girls and women of our world who are fueling the “uprising” with their relentless voices for change. Her willingness to speak up and tell these stories has undoubtedly been instrumental in fueling the uprising she writes about.
There is another young woman who has raised her voice. She isn’t risking her life, but she is taking a stand. Her name is Nisha Varghese.
I have been following Nisha for a few years now on twitter and she reached out to ask for my help. She is a 23 year old woman from South Africa who lives with Cerebral Palsy and has dedicated her life to making a difference for others. She reminds us all that if we ever doubt our power to make a difference we need to stop asking “why me?” – whatever our limitations might be – and instead ask “why not me?”
On March 5, 2010, she started a Clean Water for All Campaign to raise $6,500 for The Water Project, Inc – an organization that provides clean water to communities all over the world who suffer needlessly without it. She has raised $7,862 and demonstrated that “anybody can make a difference and change the world – even me: a nineteen-year-old girl in a wheelchair.”
Her latest campaign is Educate Generations to raise $2,500 for the Malala Fund. I have no doubt she will succeed. In the process she will again leave a trail of inspiration for us all. To view Nisha’s video about her project and to donate, you can click here.
Speaking up is the most fundamental act of leadership. How will you use your voice to alter the status quo where you live and work, and perhaps even the world?
photo credit: richard.brand