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Watching the Half the Sky documentary last night, I felt equal parts stunned and electrified by the heroic and harrowing stories featured. I was especially humbled at the humanity of our global society. We are all so connected, no matter how different our stories and circumstances.

Watch Half the Sky

When Eva Mendes, traveling on behalf of the International Rescue Committee, asked a 14-year-old survivor of sexual assault to chose which necklace she liked better, I was concerned that the gift would be greeted as a westerner trying to “buy” the young girl’s affections. But as Ms. Mendes reached out to her, offering her the necklace the young girl chose, she stated: when you wear this, you pray for me; when I wear this (the necklace kept), I’ll pray for you.

This powerfully sweet message reminded me that we can be connected for a lifetime even if our paths cross only for a few minutes.

I sympathize with many who will say the problems are too great and the solutions too complicated.  We have all experienced the feelings of futility, and that is why I really identified with the quote from Somaly Mam.

She said, “Everyone can help. Everyone can do one thing, start by your heart.”

As an employee of Heifer International, I’m fortunate that I work for a development organization I so firmly believe in with my head and my heart.  And I’m proud that Heifer’s model of development encourages partnerships with other nonprofits and agencies, especially at the in-country project level. Collectively, we can have exponentially greater impact and positive change than if we work solely on our own.

I will be tuning in tonight for the second part of Half the Sky with tissues in hand and a hopeful heart ready to learn about the work happening with Save the Children in India, the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital in Somaliland and Umoja Women’s Village in Kenya.

Did you catch the first installment of Half the Sky last night? Tell us what you thought in the comments below.

If you missed it, catch the second part tonight on you local PBS station at 9 p.m. EST.

Follow the live chat during tonight’s broadcast here.

Author

Allison Stephens

Allison began working for Heifer International in 2011 in Public Relations and is also a Public Affairs Officer in the Air Force Reserve. She graduated from Penn State University with a degree in communications. She is married, mother to baby "E" and proud bonus mother to a 13 year-old daughter.