This adventure all started very simply. Dinner with friends at their favorite little neighborhood Italian restaurant. Kirsten shared stories about her walk across Bosnia the previous summer and her newly adopted ‘grandmother’. Her face lit up with passion while she talked about Women for Women International and co-chairing their annual gala. Kirsten has always struck me as the kindest of souls. I didn’t realize that she is also a force of nature.
Over the last few months she and her co-chair Michelle rallied not just me but dozens of others to the cause. The dedicated committee that I was invited to join… well, the truth is that I just don’t have enough words. These women welcomed me with open arms and we settled in to work together. We shared tea and cocktails and more work on the tiniest details than you can imagine. There was even a bit of back garden DIY, accompanied by Pimms, of course. And inspired by them, we assembled an incredible team of photographers who helped me photograph the event. Up to London for the evening, Clare, Fiona, Karen, Cristina, and our assistant, Katie, proved themselves equal to the fortitude of our committee. (And wickedly talented to boot.)
Women for Women International works in countries recovering from conflict to offer training and education to changes the lives of women. Through women, they change not just a single life but the future of a nation and the planet. Over the course of a few months and one incredible evening, I watched, and was blessed to lend a hand in, the ways that those of us fortunate to have can have a true, measurable impact on the world we live in.
Last Thursday night, as one person after another shared their passion for what is possible and the ways in which WfWI has changed their lives. I kept thinking about Kirsten’s adopted grandmother. Her own family ripped from her, she has not just Kirsten, but literally hundreds of people joining together to change her life. It’s true for every one of the more than 28,000 women around the world who have graduated from WfWI programs. By the pence and pound and dollar and yuan… we are changing the world.
I laughed. I cried. I made friends for life.