On Thursday March 17th, Sarri Singer, Founder and Director of Strength to Strength, spoke during a session hosted by the DPI/NGO in collaboration with the 60th session on the Commission on the Status of Women. The session titled “Women and Girls: From Adversity to Hope” hosted a panel of women whose hardships and personal trauma lead to the creation of their organizations to help and empower other women in similar situations.
As over 300 people listened during the session, there was not a dry eye in the room as each of the women told their story and their outcome when it seemed like all hope was lost. The panel included Monica Singh who in 2005 had been covered with acid on 65% of her body and left her to cover her face for the next eight years. She founded the Mahendra Singh Foundation to help survivors win back their independence and teaches them that “life doesn’t end here, life is just the beginning”. Consolee Nishimwe lived through the Rwandan Genocide at 14 years old and spoke about her life through that tragedy and how she continues to tell her story to inspire other women to never give up hope. Naila Amin was a child bride survivor, being engaged in Pakistan at 8 years old. She remembers the day that changed her life was when she asked herself “Are you a victim or a survivor?” beginning her campaign as an activist while pursuing her college degree in New York City. Sarri Singer established Strength to Strength after surviving a terrorist bombing on bus #14 in Jerusalem in 2003 and Alexandra Akira created Goddess in Progress to visualize hopeful situations for women and girls everywhere.
The panel was moderated by Zainab Zeb, a visual artist, activist & humanitarian who works proactively to address global social justice issues to remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability. This moving session showcased the success that women can have when they take what they have been through and put the time and energy in uplifting themselves through their hardships and tragedies in life.
"The opportunity to speak on this panel was empowering" said Sarri Singer. "We have all gone through trauma that has changed our lives forever. Instead of letting the trauma destroy us, we each have taken our experiences to help others. That is the best way to live our lives".To view the panel: http://webtv.un.org/watch/woman-and-girls-from-adversity-to-hope-dpingo-briefing-csw60-side-event/4805455564001