Yesterday I was poking around TED Talks and ended up listening to a talk by Leymah Gbowee, a Nobel Laureate and peace advocate from Liberia, called “Unlock the intelligence, compassion, greatness of girls”. In her 14 minute talk, she shares personal experiences of seeing young girls in Liberia unable to afford education and many entering into prostitution due to their extreme poverty. But she believes their is hope and speaks of multiple young women who have made a difference in Liberia when they are able to unlock their own greatness.
The talk reminded me of a conversation I had with a faculty member from my university a few months ago. From Ghana, this professor takes a group of students back to his home community every summer for them to learn about development planning by working in the academy he started, the Human Factor Leadership Academy. When speaking to me of his academy he said,
“If you educate a man [in Ghana], you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a whole village.”
Through HFLA, he aims to impact the whole village and to unlock greatness as he teaches both children and adults throughout Africa. His hope is to build leaders who will spark change in his home country and beyond.
As I was pondering all of this yesterday, at first I confined these issues to Africa. However, currently I am in Las Vegas for the first time, and around me I feel that I see so much lost potential. Escort cards line the streets offering women to your door in under 20 minutes. While my husband and I have had a great time viewing the lights, going to a show, and eating incredible food, I just can’t help but be sad. What if someone had helped unlock greatness in these women and the men they interact with? And, what I am doing to help unlock greatness in others? It’s a question I feel I need to seriously consider.
Interested in learning more? Check out these links:
- Human Factor Leadership Academy – based in Ghana, this academy is educating Africans from pre-school to graduate school on how to be the next leaders of Africa
- My Body the City: The Secret Life of a Call-Girl – blog and voice of an ex-call-girl in NYC
- Educating Voices – provides a list on what you can do to help stop prostitution
- Leymah Gbowee: Unlocking the intelligence, compassion, greatness of girls