Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Stepping out of my comfort zone for women everywhere. #IWD2017



Today is international women's day and there is no way I could let this day go by without writing about the injustice that many women face in our world. I've learnt from my Nan and Mum how different things were for women in their day and still even now there are barriers for women in the UK to achieve the same as men but that's not what I'm writing about today.

I understand it is annoying or even infuriating that we can't earn the same wage as a man, achieve the highest level jobs or gain access to some exclusive clubs but compare that to girls and women in many countries not being able to access education, work in many professions, vote, own a home, inherit land or feel safe and the plight of equality for women in the U.K. pales considerably. There are women fighting and championing for this cause and that is right, as we all have our own passions and causes that set us alight.

My passion, the one that breaks my heart is for all those living in extreme poverty in developing countries. Yes, some of these countries many look rich on the face of it but I can't ignore their people as 'they are not helping themselves'. We all know the old saying 'the rich get richer and the poor get poorer' and it breaks my heart that it is often true. You might have seen that in 2012 I travelled to Ethiopia with ONE (the most amazing campaigning and advocacy organisation, seeking to see an end to extreme poverty) to see the difference that British and US aid made to the people there. It was a trip I'll never forget and one day I pray I'll get to take more trips to developing countries where I can offer my assistance, love and prayers.

There are so many issues affecting people living in poverty and it is easy to get overwhelmed and feel like there is no solution and where on earth would you start? But it is important for us to stay focused on the people, on each individual, people like Mulu who I met in Adidas Ababa working making beautiful scarves and caring for her child after many years trapped in the sex trade.


Can you believe that today there are 130 million girls in the world who should be at school but they are being denied an education for one reason or another. Who can even comprehend the number 130 million? When you hear that is how many girls are denied education across the world it is easy to tune out, right? 

It's just too big and too scary and I'm one small person living on a tiny island thousands of miles away. Wrong, you have power and resources available to you that these women don't. You can read and write, you can vote, you can speak up and do what they are unable to do themselves. So that is what I did last week, I delivered a letter from me and a copy of the ONE open letter to the local office of my MP, Huw Merriman. I urged him to speak up in Parliament about how wrong it is that all those girls are denied education and that it is proven when you educate a girl you change the fortunes for families, villages and ultimately countries.

Have I ever been to Huw's office before? No. Why? Because I was scared that I wasn't well read enough, that I didn't know enough, that I couldn't handle tricky questions if asked them. How pathetic, right? Wrong, I was just being me but I realised this week I don't need to know all the answers I just have to know Gods heart for the poor and how He hates injustice and that was enough to send me to the office and had it been open, I'd have asked to speak to Huw.

As it was, it wasn't open so I had to be happy to just post the letter in his box and continue with speaking out via my blog and online as I've been doing for the last few years. I pray Huw is touched and takes the plight of all these women forward for discussion but if he doesn't I'll keep fighting as my small ripples combined with everyone else's will make a difference.

In fact at the moment ONE are creating some huge waves with their #Girlscount campaign for IWD today. They have hundreds of people across the world delivering their open letter to elected officials including 3 Nigerian girls who have had to battle for their education heading to the United Nations. Take a peek at the Girls Count movement below -




Join us?

**If you care about education for those 130 million girls then please join me and sign the Poverty is Sexist ONE petition HERE. **

Also, why don't you join me and film yourself counting. It is super easy and takes around 30 seconds - head over to #GirlsCount and choose what number you fancy. Check out the excellent FAQ if you have any questions. 

Myself and my children have been involved with the involved with the launch video for #Girlscount. I am 2012, Miss M is 125 million, Miss E is 2025 and JJ is 1168 and if you want to see why we choose those numbers you'll have to watch our short video clips over at Girlscount.one.org, you can use the magnifying glass to select by number. 

I'm inspired that ONE will use these videos to show to world leaders and our elected representatives at key times to help motivate them to ensure that education is made available to all girls. Here's a sample of what a billboard might look like.



I hope I've persuaded you to join with us and name the numbers between one and one hundred and thirty million to show that every girl who is not in education has not been forgotten. She still counts.

Thanks for reading, be blessed, Mich x

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