If you could say anything to yourself as a kid, what would you say?
That’s the question behind ONE’s new documentary series, Yours in Power. Three activists working to create gender equality have written to themselves as young girls, offering advice and insights for the road ahead. Their inspiring words prove the power of a strong voice and an unwavering determination to create an equal world.
Any activist knows that changing the world can involve a lot of letters. Whether it be addressed to politicians, world leaders, or fellow advocates, there’s no doubt that words have immense power in sparking action. Now, these three powerful women are using that power to reflect on their own journeys as advocates and show that anyone, anywhere, can change the world.
You can watch the first documentary below, with the next two coming in November and December. Before you hear their powerful stories, get to know a bit about the three activists we’re highlighting:
Melene Rossow grew up on the Cape Flats of South Africa. Inspired by her mother’s fight for gender equality, she became determined to fight for the rights of women and girls through elevating their voices.
In 2009, she became an Attorney in the High Court of South Africa. She is also the founder of the Women Lead Movement, where she runs seminars to teach women about human rights, leadership, campaigning, and democratic power. Her goal is to empower women to be leaders for change in their communities and hold governments accountable to protect and secure women’s rights.
She sees the tough road to equality ahead. Luckily, she is up for the challenge: “Restructuring our world so that women may flourish is going to be a tough job. But you will fight because you believe that gender equality and justice must be achieved.”
Dr. Joannie Marlene Bewa
As a young girl, Dr. Joannie Bewa experienced the fear and challenge of medical issues first-hand when she almost died from an asthma attack. Now, inspired by the doctor who treated her as a child, she views that experience as the beginning of her journey to becoming an award-winning physician.
From her home in the Benin Republic, she is advocating for every woman to have access to health services. She founded the Young Beninese Leaders Association (YBLA), which has provided over 10,000 youth with HIV/AIDS awareness. YBLA has also trained more than 3,000 girls and women on sexual and reproductive health, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
Ultimately, she hopes to create “a world where no woman will die while giving birth. A world where every woman has access to health services and quality education.”
Wadi Ben-Hirki, like many young girls, grew up being told that she should be “seen and not heard.” The gender discrimination she faced as a kid became the source of her strength, inspiring her to take action and advocate for equality.
She founded the Wadi Ben-Hirki Foundation at only 17 years old. Her foundation educates marginalized communities, including women and youths, on how to be advocates for the issues that affect them. On top of her work with the foundation, she collaborates with other youth advocates as a ONE Champion.
Her fight against poverty, illiteracy, and child marriage aims to create a society of equal opportunities for all. She hopes that her activism and her story will enable others to achieve their goals and live freely.
If you could say anything to your past self, what would it be? On October 11, International Day of the Girl, join us on Facebook and Twitter to leave a message for your younger self. And be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you catch each documentary as soon as it drops!