This #InternationalWomensDay, I want to highlight strong-willed women who fight every day to push the envelope in a society that tells them they can't. The future is female. The future is now.
Anuradha is a Nepalese social activist and the founder and director of Maiti Nepal – a non-profit organization in Nepal, dedicated to helping victims of sex trafficking. Her crusade to stop human trafficking has enabled her to rescue over 12,000 girls and counting!
Reema Bint Bandar AlSaud
Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud redifined what "Princess" means when she led a breast cancer awareness campaign--10KSA-- in Saudi Arabia, a country which has far too many taboos surrounding women's health. Surrounded by an ultra-conservative society, Reema breaks these boundaries and proves that women are capable. 3,500 women gathered and congregated in the shape of a pink ribbon. This groundbreaking campaign is just one of many of her successful strides toward a future of strong, healthy women.
Emily Hwang is another wonder woman who I consider one of my big sisters. An intelligent, sexy, established international property investor, (oh, did we mention she's also a mother of two?) Emily co-founded the Asian Couture Federation, a non-profit organization that honors and supports multi-talented designers. Her hands-on involvement has brought many talented Asian designers to the forefront of big fashion houses. She also started a brand called "Coururissimo" which brings together global designs into an accessible, couture-to-closet experience. Emily's involvement in such organizations makes her just one of many who support the growth and empowerment of women across the globe.
Nadia Murad Basee
Nadia Murad Basee is the first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations. Nadia's mission is sponsored and supported by Yazda: Global Yazidi Organization. She was kidnapped and held by ISIS in August 2014, and now shares her story for awareness.
Mar Brettmann founded Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST). Mar participated in a conversation of experts on human trafficking who were seeking to identify effective interventions to proactively prevent this victimization.
The Airline Ambassadors is a non-profit organization that specializes in training airline attendants to recognize signs of human trafficking in the airline industry. This includes children, women, and others who have fallen victim to this atrocious crime. The Ambassadors' keen eye has saved countless of victims and will only continue to do so, one day eventually eradicating this epidemic completely. A few of these women were guests on The Real and I felt so inspired and proud knowing these strong, intelligent women were fighting right alongside myself for a cause that means so dearly to us.
Chi means sister in Vietnamese...and this woman isn't just my sister, she's the big sister to every survivor she's rescued from human trafficking. Chi Thao has dedicated her life to serve the Pacific Link Organization shelters and the individual survivors that live there. She guides the guardians who watch over the young ladies and visits the shelters every day to provide specific attention and love to each of the girls. Chi Thao is there when these ladies are rescued and there if they can be reconnected with their families to resume life. Chi Thao...you are an angel.
Mimi Vu is the Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships at Pacific Links Foundation. Because of Mimi, Pacific Links Foundation has exponentially grown to provide the housing, education, protection, and structural support for survivors of human trafficking. Having relocated her life from the u.s. to Vietnam, Mimi spends her days making strategic relationships to build the potential of Pacific Links foundation, and to spread the awareness and education behind the dangers of human trafficking. She's also my ride or die bestie and although I may not share a meal with her because of her bland taste for food, I will absolutely break bread and give thanks for her friendship.
The online master of social work program at the Dworak-Peck School of Social Work released an interactive website about human trafficking as the second piece of a two-part campaign to spread awareness about the issue. Annalisa Enrile stated:
Enrile said she developed her passion for putting an end to human trafficking when she was an undergraduate student in 1993.
“When I first got involved, it was because I heard stories about those who have been labor trafficked,” Enrile said. “My family is from the Philippines, and the number one export of the Philippines is its migrant labor force. For me, there have always been personal components.
Last but no least, the most important woman in mai life: Mama Mai. You taught me how to be ME. From childhood, you encouraged me to express myself creatively, have confidence in who I am, what I believe in, and what I want to achieve. Every day I remind myself of the sacrifices you've made to provide me with the life I've been blessed with. You're my main, Mama. <3