This week’s Wednesday's Woman was written and submitted by Anna Mahler, of The Mommy Padawan. I am certain you get the “Mommy” part. But are you familiar with the term “Padawan”?
A "padawan" is a term for “student” taken from the film Star Wars. I think the title of Anna’s blog is fitting. She is a careful observer of life and looks to her experiences for opportunities to grow as a woman, wife, and mother. She sees her three year old son as her greatest teacher.
Students learn most through their experiences teaching others. Anna is no exception. She shares the wisdom she has gained as a wife and mother in her ebook You are Loved - Caring for Our Children, Families, and Ourselves with Loving Kindness.
Her philosophy of self-care allows her to create a harmonious home. Self-care also allows her to recognize the importance of sharing her uplifting attitudes with the readers of her blog. I encourage you to spend time at The Mommy Padawan where you will find a voice of authenticity, grace, warmth and courage.
Today, Anna tells the story of Lisa Shannon, founder of A Thousand Sister’s. Anna states, “Lisa Shannon is an amazing example of what can happen when one person decides to take action.”
I am grateful Anna decided to “take action” and be the first to guest post for Wednesday's Woman.
Wednesday's Woman, Lisa Shannon
by Anna Mahler
When first learning about horrible suffering going on in different places in the world, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless. It can seem as though, when something is happening so far away, so many are suffering and I am only one person, what good can I really do?
Lisa Shannon is an amazing example of what can happen when one person decides to take action.
At home in Portland in 2005, Lisa first learned about the epidemic of rape and suffering in Congo while watching an episode of Oprah. That day, Lisa went online to Women For Women International and sponsored two sisters. Wanting to do more, she single handedly started the Run For Congo Women to raise funds for additional sponsorships. But she also did this to send a message; that these women did matter. They were not forgotten or worthless (as the militia there would want them to believe). The first year, she ran alone but raised almost twenty eight thousand dollars. Today, there are runs and walks for Congolese women taking place all over the United States, bringing sponsorship, aid and hope to women survivors.
The DR of Congo has been termed the worst place on earth to be a woman. Organized rape, torture and murder is an everyday reality. Many women have also lost children due to sickness or poor living conditions while hiding from the militia's attacks in the jungle. As a women, I am beyond saddened and outraged by this. As a mother, I am horrified and shaken to the core.
It's hard to read the stories Lisa Shannon brings back from her visits to the Congo and it's impossible for me to read her website without feeling the darkness of the lives of the surviving women and children. But we need to know their stories, because these women do matter.
In 2007, Lisa traveled to Eastern Congo and returned again in May 2008 and February 2010. Her book,, is the story of her journey as well as those of her Congo sisters, many she was able to meet in person. At times, feeling her efforts were like “tossing teaspoons on water on a raging fire”, Lisa has never given up helping the Congolese women and their families, raising awareness and even bringing the cause to the doorstep of the American Government.
Lisa Shannon: A Thousand Sisters:My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to be a Woman from Expanded Books on Vimeo.
Named the 2006 Hero of Running by “Runner’s World” magazine, Lisa Shannon is currently an ambassador for Women for Women International and was recently named one of the twenty most powerful women in the world by O Magazine.
This was accomplished by one woman who became aware of a horrible situation and decided to act.
Living proof that one person can make a difference.
You can learn more about Lisa and her visit to the Congo by watching the video at A Thousand Sisters.
Do you want to run for Congo women? Go to Run for Congo Women.
Learn about sponsoring and changing a woman's life at Women for Women.
*How sponsoring through Women for Women International works: A portion of the monthly sponsorship amount is given directly to a woman for basic needs but the women are also provided classes on woman's rights, literacy, nutrition, family planning and vocational training. Finally, a portion of the money donated is put in to a savings account the women can use to invest in a business once they graduate from the training courses. An equally important part of the sponsorship also involves receiving and sending letters to your sponsored sister in the Congo and this has also helped to give hope and let a woman who is truly suffering know, she is not forgotten, she is not alone.