Activist, writer, Founder of The Red Pump Project
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Earlier this year, a message came through from The Red Pump Project’s website. It was from a woman who was married with five kids. She had just found out that she was HIV-positive, and she hadn’t told anyone. In moments like those, I understand the purpose of my organization, The Red Pump Project, in a tangible way. We are the safe space and the haven, and our work tells women everywhere that we are with them as they are affected by this epidemic.
According to UNAIDS, there are almost 37 million people living with HIV around the world, and 2 million became newly-infected in 2014. That number sounds huge but what is more important are the people and the stories behind it. Their stories, their struggles and their triumphs are just as important as that large number. During World AIDS Day, where we honor those living with HIV and remember those who are no longer with us, we must also remain optimistic that we can beat this epidemic.
I came to care deeply about this topic is when I was in college. I met someone who had 20 cousins who were orphans because they lost their parents to AIDS-related complications. Those cousins were all living with her grandmother. It placed a face on the numbers I had heard, and I was gripped by a desire to care more, pay more attention and do what I can. That is why I am committed to being a part of this fight, and to lift up the women who are also in it.
We must address the stigma because people are suffering in silence. Our job is to start the conversation to help women by educating them on the facts, encouraging them to get tested and having sex that is safe. We need to remove barriers that prevent any access to contraceptives, and we have got to remove the taboo that comes with being sexual beings.
Today (and everyday), I am rocking some powerful red shoes with women everywhere to say “I am with you.” When women from South Africa, France, Barbados join us to do the same, it is because they recognize that this is not a personal problem but a global issue, and if HIV affects one of us, it affects all of us.
Every girl has a vision for her future and the world she lives in. In honor of International Day of theGirl, ONE Girls and Women is launching 31 girls in 31 days to share these hopes and dreams.
Click on the girl of the day's photo to read about her hopes for girls around the world.
Check ONE Girls and Women each day for #31hopes from girls, for girls around the world.
Be the Change
There’s no doubt that the world has made a lot of progress in the last several years, but for girls and women, there’s still work to do. Check out our great partners below who are doing important work on this issue.
6 out of 10
adults living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are women
of cases where HIV transmits from mothers to their children can now be prevented
people died from AIDS in 2012
See who's making a difference
UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, is an innovative partnership that leads and inspires the world in achieving...
(RED) was founded in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver to engage businesses and people in the fight against AIDS. ...
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing pediatric HIV infection and eliminating pediatric...
#ONEderWoman of the Week: Eden Full
Canada native, Eden Full, is no stranger to solar energy issues. When she was 14, she built a solar panel “tree” after studying how effective trees are at absorbing sunlight. After working on a wide range of research projects, Eden designed and built the SunSaluter. SunSaluter has since become its own organization, focusing on delivering a revolutionary solar tracking system to communities struggling to afford electricity.
One big issue facing developing countries is the lack of cheap solar tracking systems. As the sun moves overhead, solar tracking systems keep the panel constantly facing the sun. Panels without a tracking system are 30% less effective. For families relying on solar panels, this can be the difference between heating food and keeping the lights on so that children can do their homework. Enter the SunSaluter, which uses a mechanical water clock to help solar panels receive the maximum amount of sunlight. Doubling as a water filter, the SunSaluter is a cheap, simple solution to solar energy efficiency for communities struggling to afford electricity.
Eden’s work has been featured in Forbes, the New York Times, and NPR. You can find out more about the award winning SunSaluter, Eden, her team, and their amazing work here!
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Girls often face barriers to achieving their dreams, but the supportive environment at the Peace Corps’ Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) Camp in southern Ghana helped them talk about the difficulties—and their goals!
The case was bought after two former child brides, Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi, took the government to court in an attempt to challenge the discriminatory nature of Zimbabwe’s Marriage Act.
Need something special for the activist in your life? Some of our friends fighting poverty have some great gifts that do good. Check them out!
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