Monthly Archives: February 2009

How to Change a Women’s Life with ABC










The motivation behind M2M’s mission is that education is a right not a privilege, education can promote peace, and literacy can change lives.   

My good friend, Kate, sent me a link this morning from a NPR story, The Magic of Letters.  It is written by a Nepali woman, Chameli Waiba and tells how learning the alphabet as an adult literally changed her life.   Uncovering the magic of letters led her to find ways to bring education to children in her village and to spearhead women’s microsaving groups to begin a small co-op.  

Similar stories, rooted in the ongoing story of Central Asia Institute’s work in Pakistan and Afghanistan go a step further to highlight the power of an education to not only change the lives of girls previously forbidden to attend school, but also to help promote peace in severely war torn regions.  

Education also increases self confidence, critical thinking skills, and becomes a huge motivator for social change.  In the developing world there is added benefit where many girls become brides as early as 14.  The United Nations’ State of the World Population report from 1990 states that when a girl in the developing world receives a minimum of  seven years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.   With approximately 600 million girls in the developing world, that hits home.

Story after story backs up education in the developing world, particularly that of girls, as an powerful tool in the arsenal to fight poverty, balance gender equality, and fight terrorism. Those ABC’s that my own four year old is learning at school hold the key to immense grassroots change.


photo by Di Zinno

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Breathe…and Take your First Step




Painful to look at.

That’s what I thought when I was sent this video from 2007 a couple days ago.  Jolina Karen, of Our Great Life asked myself and my partner-in-crime, Tara Kusumoto to take part in a video interview for her website.  The purpose was to document and share the story of how Mountain to Mountain was started.  Why did I do it?  What obstacles arose?  What did we accomplish and more importantly…what next?  Jolina wanted to share our story, but also look at ways that people become inspired to create change.

Other interviewees include our local ‘jungle doctor’, Doc PJ.  A one man medical mission in areas of remote Honduras, Nepal, Indonesia, and more recently, Sudan.  We are hoping to possibly work with PJ in the future in joint projects in Nepal.

Looking back, while its more than a little painful to watch yourself on video, its really cool to see that place and time preserved.  Tara was the other half of the coin in our first cycle to support Greg Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute and without her we wouldn’t have accomplished as much as we did.  Being able to see our relationship and our joint passion for the subject re-inspires me at a time where M2M is moving forward with the creation of our new evolution.  A Board of Directors and Advisory Board, new programming outreach, and new projects and collaboration in Afghanistan and other areas of Central Asia.

The irony is that I never wanted to do it.  It was a couple of weeks after a seven month push and I was beyond exhausted.  Getting in front of a camera was the LAST thing I wanted to do, much less rehash the last seven months.  I let Tara set the meeting and I dragged myself there – but the experience was a good one and now, in retrospect, I’m glad a record is out there.

Sometimes looking back helps remind you why you are moving forward.

One step at a time.

Our Great Life – Mountain to Mountain Video

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