Today as the world celebrates International Women's Day, I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to three incredible women that Fistula Foundation is fortunate to work with, who have dedicated their lives to helping women who suffer from the devastating childbirth injury obstetric fistula.
While every day I am grateful for my healthy and thriving son, who is growing up too quickly before my eyes, I know that far too many women are not able to share my experience of a safe delivery with respectful care.
Giving birth is a difficult business for all women -- that's why it's called labor. But for tens of millions of women around the world, too often bringing new life into the world means risking their own.
In December 2012, I had the honor of voluntarily traveling to the Edna Adan University Hospital Somaliland for two weeks to learn, understand, educate and care for women who had been subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Many in Edna's position might have justifiably chosen to rest on their laurels. Instead, upon retiring from WHO, she decided to continue giving back to her country. Edna is a humanitarian of a different sort -- cut from the same cloth as Mother Teresa or Paul Farmer.
The Edna Adan University Hospital is a nonprofit facility that provides care to expectant mothers and their babies regardless of their ability to pay. We want to say thanks to the hundreds of people who have donated generously to Edna's hospital in the RaiseForWomen Challenge.
The Community Midwife program at Edna Adan Hospital, which is supported by UNFPA, seeks to train 1,000 women from all over Somaliland to be qualified healthcare workers in the hopes that they will return to their homes and provide assistance for other women.
Edna Adan not only trains mid-wives so they can return to their rural environment and provide pre-natal and birthing support, but also teaches them to carry with them the message that genital mutilation of any girl or woman does not serve them.
Edna Adan, a 75-year-old former U.N. diplomat who has rubbed shoulders with presidents and kings, says her greatest achievement is her most recent: building the first maternity hospital in her country.
I can't think of a better way to celebrate International Women's Day than to pick up Half The Sky, be inspired by the women profiled in the book and take action for all the women and girls around the world who aren't yet empowered to do so for themselves.
The exhibit challenges you to open your eyes, open your mind, open your heart, and most of all to act to improve the lot of the world's women. The enemy is not men. The enemy is indifference and its evil twin inaction.