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Posts Tagged ‘courage

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‘you never expect to be killed by your own father’  says a teen girl living in syria who was interviewed by katherine zoepf, a journalist who spent many years covering the middle east. 

katherine witnessed the strength and courage of women who took tiny but mighty steps to elevate the lives of girls/young women despite the odds.  she yearned to tell their stories which are often unheard.   i had the chance to attend a reading and q & a about her new book, excellent daughters: the secret lives of young women who are transforming the arab world.  

during the reading, katherine describes interviews from girls at a juvenile prison.  in addition to teens who have been caught in illegal activity, this prison also houses girls who are in danger of being killed by their families.  they were afraid of being murdered as part of honor killings which are allowed in some parts of the middle east. an honor or shame killing is when others believe the victim has brought dishonor to the family or has violated the values of the community.  this is often done to girls/women for reasons such as refusing to enter an arranged marriage, being in a relationship that is disapproved by their family, becoming the victim of rape or even dressing in ways which are deemed inappropriate.

as katherine reads, i’m in horror at the fact there were enough girls in danger of honor killings to warrant a special place to house them.  i’m also struck by sadness at the fact their place of refuge is a prison.  but because of the stigma of being a girl who has dishonored her family, it was the only place that would take them in. despite the harsh environment, the girls are given sewing/knitting classes, food and love by mona. mona and other brave activists spoke up to provide a place for the girls. mona tries in her small but mighty way to make a difference.  

mona and stories of other courageous women are told throughout the book.  these women speak in a world that often tries to shut them out. they are fearless leaders creating change and shaping a better future for their communities from the grassroots up. 

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737558-antoinette-tuffby now everyone has heard the 911 call of Ms. Antoinette Tuff as she bravely talked a mentally unstable man from murdering hundreds of innocent children.  

when i heard the call, i thought this woman sounds like an angel.  i couldn’t believe anyone without training would remain that calm and be SO LOVING.  yesterday i saw her interview on Anderson Cooper 360 and now I am convinced; she IS a walking, breathing example of sainthood.  

She is not just a hero to those children and their families; she’s a hero to us all. She’s a hero because of her example of humility by sharing her pain and secrets with not only a stranger but someone who wanted to kill her.   She’s a hero because of her deep faith that everything was going to be okay not just for herself but the man with the gun.   She’s a hero because her focus the entire Anderson Cooper interview was on others.   All of this from a woman who had been through so many trials in her own life. She could have easily been angry at life.   Her strength to turn her life and attitude into positive is purely extraordinary.    

Antoinette Tuff is my role model of what a real woman looks like.  Yes she is beautiful on the outside but its’ her character and heart that are stunningly gorgeous.  We salute and thank you Ms.Tuff.

To learn more about Ms. Tuff and her charity work with children in need visit her website:

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Below is a repost from (a great blog with girlie news, tips and cool buys).   The heart warming post goes to show you that NOTHING should stop us ladies from speaking our minds. If these women can share their voices, so can we. Write on my sisters!!

” The Afghan Women’s Writing Project(AAWP), founded in 2009 by Masha Hamilton to empower women in Afghanistan to share their stories and their voices. These women risk their lives to meet online and in hidden “writing huts” to be mentored by American women authors and professors, and AAWP publishes their words for the world to see. They’re hiding laptops under burqas, walking through Taliban territory to get to a place to upload their assignments. Can you imagine?

Read stories like “True Friends, Part 1,” “A Letter to My Parents” and “A Prayer for Grandmother” (get tissues!), and peek into the warm and colorful Afghan culture with scenes like “Come for Dinner at This Big House.

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