This was published September 25, 2012, but as you’ll see, it is still very timely with recent world events…

This week I had the chance to listen to and meet three courageous women in New York City, via a whirlwind speaking tour put together by World Pulse. If you’ve never heard about World Pulse, please take the time to visit their website. Their mission is simple and inspiring – to give women a global platform to share their stories. While this may not seem like much to many of us – to women in rural, underserved communities all over the world it has been literally life-saving.Hummingbird_World Pulse

The women I met were not professional speakers, but they had passion for their respective missions – serving the needs of down-trodden and disadvantaged women in India, Syria and Africa. Each was a survivor. Each had pushed past horrific circumstances and sorrow, to share their stories on a first ever World Pulse LIVE tour.

What struck me in particular with Hummingbird (not her real name) – a woman who has decided to speak out against the atrocities affecting her sisters in Syria, despite risk of retribution to herself and her family – was her quiet determination to push past her painful recollections. Many times she had to stop to compose herself, as she detailed her journey through forced marriage and abuse – and other harsh aspects of everyday life for many women in her war-torn country. As you might imagine, many audience members (including myself) cried for her and the injustices suffered by countless others.

It was an honor to meet all three women, but honestly I felt so insignificant thanking them for their courage after the program was over. I wanted to hug each one of them, to tell them we would be there for them, we would call our representatives and demand that more attention be given to the communities they were looking to serve and save.

After I spoke with Hummingbird (and before we took the picture above) I started crying again, especially after hugging her. Because she looked so fragile after being so strong, I just had to show her how much she impacted me, how much her story mattered. You can see the heartache in her eyes, even as she was so grateful to be there – and for the outpouring of empathy and affection shown by many others.

This is why we all need to know about various social online tools, even if you think it’s a passing phase or an inconvenience. Because for Hummingbird, Neema and Stella, ┬ásocial media is a beacon of light –
a connection and reporting tool that has literally enabled them to escape from otherwise hopeless circumstances. Social media is hugely important to millions of otherwise “unheard from” people.

I urge you to find out more about World Pulse. Read and listen to the stories on their site; share yours. Connect with women all over the world who are using World Pulse to share their stories, and in many cases, to improve their lives and the lives of their children. Every woman’s voice deserves to be heard!