Women with a Vision: Celebrating International Women’s Day 2017


Article by Abigail Terhaar, Clinton Fellow 

I grew up in a family of pioneering women, in a state, which was ranked as the 49th lowest performing state for women in the U.S. (out of 50). Less than 24 percent of women from Louisiana go on to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher[1] and at 12.5% we have the lowest percentage of women in our state legislature. But despite these indicators, there’s my maternal grandmother who worked as a nurse with her BSN, my paternal grandmother who has her Ph.D., and my mom who ran her own business. I recently learned that my great grandmother was the first person in her family to go to college and later abruptly left her small-town one school district as a teacher when she found out she wasn’t being paid equal to men. It was two women, Ms. Kelsey, my high school English teacher and Dr. Vanessa Bouche, one of my college professors who inspired me work internationally. I even chose my college major because of a woman, Senator Landrieu, who through a chance meeting when I was 8 years old ignited my interest in politics. I was lucky, despite coming from a location where statistically most women don’t graduate from college, for my family it was a priority and I didn’t face obstacles to receiving an education.


Before coming to India, I had only vaguely heard of International Women’s Day. However, upon the first March 8th I spent here, I realized that it was quite the celebration. Here, the women who inspire me most are the ones who may seem ordinary to some but are revolutionary in their families and communities. There’s my coworker, Shalet, who was the first person in her family to graduate from college and became a senior reporter at The New Indian Express before joining the NGO sector. Kalyani*, one of our students who was married at age 11 and has joined our center at age 30 in hopes of taking up her first job. Kavitha*, one of our interns, who despite familial pressures to not work and get married, worked at a large software company and is now pursuing her MBA.

In honor of this International Women’s Day, I was privileged to participate in a “roadshow” or march organized by one of our skills training centers to spread awareness about education women and about our program to develop skills and employ young adults. Carrying a loudspeaker playing Kannada tunes and proclaiming messages of equal education for women, we traversed the neighborhood, distributed roses and received quite a few smiles and well wishes in return. One women’s rights enthusiast we met, Mr. Leslie proclaimed, “Women are the best part of the country, if they are not coming forward, than the country will go backwards. You have to give full respect to women; they are the ones who brought people into the world. That’s the main thing!” Throughout my life and across the world, I have been fortunate to interact with numerous inspirational women and also men who champion the cause.

To see our Women’s Day roadshow in action, watch the video below:



[1] “STATUS OF WOMEN IN THE STATES” Institute For Women’s Policy Research (2015) Web. https://statusofwomendata.org/explore-the-data/state-data/louisiana/

*Names changed for confidentially reasons

The blog was first published in http://aif.org/2017/03/women-with-a-vision-celebrating-international-womens-day-2017/

Read Anna’s blog – I’m Volunteering in India!

Through her article , Anna speaks about the need of volunteering to bring about a change in the society.
She says ” The poverty and inequality that I witnessed on my first visit to India really shocked me and I’ve longed to give something back ever since. Volunteering is also a great way to get learn more about Indian culture, get more involved with the local community, learn new skills, meet new friends and gain an all round more meaningful and immersive Indian experience. I think I’ll get just as much out of it as them!

To Read more, please log on to this link Source: I’m Volunteering in India!

How To Choose the Right Voluntourism Project?

Article by Jenna Davis

I’ve had this chat with many people time and time again. Those who feel they are more educated than the average citizen often believe that voluntourism is a terrible thing. On the contrary, those who have never heard of this word before often make it out to be the most sustainable way to travel. 

Both are right, both are wrong.


You need to be aware of what voluntourism stands for before engaging in missionary work abroad. To help you get a little sense of what to look for in the right organization, follow these few pointers:


Sustainability is all about meeting the needs of our current generation without compromising the needs of future generations to come. It is about creating a lasting difference that is long term. If you’re planning on coming to volunteer with the children for a two week venture and then say your farewells shortly after… you really need to consider what it is you’re bringing to the children. If you decide to sit in the classroom and engage in daily activities, the chances are this exchange may be more rewarding for you than it is for the children. Try and consider bringing new games and implementing new ideas to the classroom.

Example: In March of 2012 I travelled to Lima, Peru on a sports mission trip with my university class. We taught government officials, coaches and teachers how to implement sport into the classroom which would also integrate fundamental learnings such as dental hygiene, avoiding alcohol abuse, etc. Though we left only a few short weeks later, we knew that having left behind our skills, expertise and a book filled with ideas this would be a more sustainable venture. 

Read more here http://giveforgranted.com/how-to-choose-the-right-voluntourism-project/