The other night my dear friend Sruti invited me to the book launch of Zainab Salbi and Rennio Maifredi‘s new book, If You Knew Me You Would Care, which profiles many of the participants of Salbi’s organization Women for Women International.
As Women for Women donors, Sruti and I were thrilled and honored to attend this event with Zainab, a woman whom we look up to and inspired us to support an Afghani woman’s participation in the Women for Women program.
At the event Zainab took a few minutes to speak about her experience interviewing the women for this book. She said she spent much of the interviewing process trying to figure out what the one common program was that had changed these women’s lives. Was there one specific class these women took that changed it all? Was it a specific business that did it? Or maybe it was a specific community that did it?
We waited on edge wondering what secret Zainab was about to reveal to us. After all her years of work, research, and results, what did she find was that one secret ingredient that could change a woman’s life? We were entranced.
And then she told us it clicked for her. There was no secret program, no one class, no one community that could change it all. She said it was inspiration. What every Women for Women woman had in common was that they had been inspired to change their lives for themselves. Sometimes it was a class, sometimes it was a friend, but every time a woman’s life was changed, it was because she had been inspired.
So I was reminded once again of why I write what I write. Sometimes you can’t give people exactly what they need, be it money or food or a home, but what you can give them is in the inspiration to change their lives for themselves, and that’s something just about anyone can give. It doesn’t cost a dime and it doesn’t take all that much.
I hope to one day inspire people the way Zainab does every day. It’s amazing what inspiration can do.
Some statistics on Women for Women International’s work in Afghanistan…
Among Women for Women International-Afghanistan program participants and graduates:
- 94% report improvements in their physical health
- 88% are actively participating in key household decisions
- 94% train and mentor other women in their community
- 83% are earning an income