During WFWP International's Leadership Summit in Korea, I was happy to meet with four WFWP women leaders from Africa. Looking at the photo below are, left to right: Ms. Mau from Ivory Coast; Ms. Shirly, a representative of Zambia; Angelika Selle, WFWP USA President; Mrs. Susan Kone, International Vice President of Africa; and Ms. Rosario from DR Congo.
It was a time for comparing notes on best practices, as well as discussing the challenges women in Africa are facing, and how the U.S. can best collaborate to help bring success.
"It's hard to get women motivated to do anything," said Ms. Mau, "as many are dealing with the pains of polygamy, physical abuse, even mutilation and financial difficulties. Their morale is quite down. There is not only physical poverty but also internal poverty... Women need a spiritual uplift."
A deep discussion ensued, and three points were identified to be addressed and acted upon:
- Create programs for economic empowerment
- Introduce tools for self-healing and self-help
- Create a package to use for the Bridge of Peace Project as a tool for healing relationships
It was good to share from the heart as women and as mothers: we felt one at heart and full of concern for our people, the next generation, and the future of our countries.
It is my personal belief that as much as Africa needs assistance and input from the United States, the U.S. also needs Africa's input and support when it comes to spirituality, family culture (there are healthy models of extended family culture in Africa), and operating from the heart. Having been to Africa previously in 2004, I experienced the deep heart of the people there, which manifests in spite of the overwhelming poverty and many other challenges, and we should not forget about that.
America is poverty-stricken in a different way. Our country, in spite of all our material wealth, is love-starved. In addition, individualism is emotionally killing our families and youth. We also need input from elsewhere, as from Africa, so we can come back into balance.
We look forward to continue to collaborate with WFWP chapters in Africa (in addition to supporting the Schools of Africa program), and as we do so, we will find that healing and enrichment will occur for both sides.