A Path Appears is Released Today! Celebrate and Become an Ambassador

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s new book A Path Appears is out!

Today brings the opportunity to be inspired by a myriad of stories that tell how people are fighting poverty and inequality across the world through research, evidence-based strategies and brilliant ideas!

Nick Kristof Reading A Path Appears

Don’t miss out on this uplifting new book that will teach you about how to better channel your humanitarian efforts, and why we all benefit from social giving.

Nick Kristof Reading A Path Appears

Share the news with your friends, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Nick Kristof Reading A Path Appears

Our ambassadors received a special video from Nick and Sheryl, along with unique opportunity to win a free book. If you’d like to learn more about the ambassador program and get involved in the movement follow the links below.

To become a campus ambassador (for university and high school students), click here.

To become a community ambassador, click here.

Stay tuned for more information on this exciting new project, and a chance to be the first to view the trailer of the film series coming out in January!

A Man Leading A Women’s Movement

Gender-based violence against women and girls is a serious social issue in my country, Burundi. The majority of women and girls here endure rape, domestic violence, sexual abuse, human trafficking and discrimination. Poverty is prevalent but many other social and cultural factors have aggravated the plight of women in Burundian society. Despite the introduction of universal primary schools in Burundi in 2005, a large gender gap in education still persists. While girls may have better access to education today, barriers such as the cost of school materials, gender-based expectations, early pregnancy and marriage cause many to fall behind or drop out of school.  Cultural attitudes that claim girls cannot succeed also worsen the situation.

Without an education to help them find work, many women languish in extreme poverty. Many resort to prostitution to make a living, which exposes them to HIV and unplanned pregnancies. The sexual exploitation of young girls has become a very alarming situation. Every year, an estimated 4,500 girls, most of them under the age of 14,  are  forced to leave school due to pregnancy or marriage.  Even though there are many laws in Burundi to protect women and girls from sexual abuse or domestic violence, many are not aware of the legal process. As a result, many victims accept crimes they have had to endure as fate.

This alarming social problem pushed me to look for opportunities and to devote my time to finding solutions for women, girls and children. But alone I could do nothing. In college, I joined Half the Sky Movement as a Campus Ambassador and Girl Rising  as a Regional Ambassador in Burundi. Both of these American organizations fight for women and girls empowerment around the world. They give their ambassadors skills, resources and ideas to efficiently advocate for women, girls and children.

In April 2014, I was appointed Global Youth Ambassador for A World At School to help call attention to the 58 million children around the world who are still denied their human right to an education. I am joined in this call for action by 500 other youth who are passionate about education. Together we make up the Global Youth Ambassador Group, which was launched  on April 1st by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Special Envoy to Education Gordon Brown. 

Currently, I run a small non-profit organization called Youth Coalition Against Gender-Based Violence-Semerera that I founded in July 2013. Our main focus is to promote laws in favor of women, promote girls’ education and empower women. It was thanks to the Half the Sky Movement Grant Program that our organization was founded and legally registered. The small grants we received through this program allowed us to implement successful small projects for women and girls.

This led to the recognition of our work as women and girls’ rights activists, such as the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders we received in 2014.  We were among 500 of 50,000 applicants selected to participate in this fellowship  which is part of President Obama’s new flagship initiative to provide promising young African leaders with new skills in Civic Leadership, Public Management and Business Entrepreneurship from top American Institutions.

During the Mandela Washington Fellowship, it was also a great joy and honor for me when Michelle Obama used me as an example in her speech of how men can participate to improve the status of women and girls. I was also selected to be one of the 40 young men and women who will  work hand in hand with the First Lady’s Office to help remove barriers to girls’ education in Africa. This gave me confidence that our work is valued.

I believe that women are important agents of change in national and international development. And men are key players in including them. This is a call for action to all men around the world: No matter who you are and where you are from, you can contribute to build an inclusive society for women and girls. No longer does ethnicity, regional, political, religious, gender or other factors have to impede the full and harmonious development of women and girls.


About the blogger:

Fikiri Nzoyisenga from Bujumbura, Burundi, has been a Campus Ambassador since 2012. He is the founder of the Youth Coalition Against Gender-Based Violence-Semerera, and currently the Director of Innovation and Production at Imagine Burundi, an organization that works to promote education, empowerment, innovation and entrepreneurship within impoverished families for them to become economically independent and avoid gender-based violence. 

From India to DC: A Changemaker in the Making

I have always fantasized about the thought of representing my country for a cause that I’m truly passionate about. My calling has been in the realm of human rights, child rights advocacy and gender justice, but my initiatives have developed only to the extent of the local level – in my community, neighborhood, and various universities and colleges. Never did I imagine that the opportunity to experience my dream would arrive so early in my life’s journey!


Yet the responsibility of discussing women’s leadership from a South Asian perspective on an international level made me feel overwhelmed. Did I fully understand the complex interaction of identities in a diverse nation like India – where women do not constitute a homogenous category but are in constant negotiation with their caste, class, region, and religion? Did I know enough about India to comprehend the different dynamics behind why women still conform to institutions and intimate relationships that suppress their freedom of expression? How different was my experience from those of women in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Zambia, Morocco, Mongolia, or the United States?

Participating in the institute, in association with the University of Kansas, helped me evolve as a person by becoming far more confident and sensitive to differences that result in marginalization. During this six-week session, I was able to interact with some of the finest women from across the globe, which helped me realize that there are young change-makers everywhere who empathize with my mission no matter what environment they come from.

The struggle to access equal rights for women is sadly a common issue that resonates with all of us in the 21st century. The factors that distinguish the so-called ‘developed’ nations from ‘developing’ ones are inconsequential in the arena of women’s rights. Nonetheless, this experience made me optimistic about the change that youth can bring in their own way. The future is in safe hands of strong, young women who I believe shall determine the path of tomorrow.

I strongly believe that every individual can pursue change through acts of leadership. Engaging in leadership is a life-long process, rather than a position of authority. I was fortunate to develop a ‘Leadership for Change’ presentation at the institute that advocates for the rights of young girls abandoned by their families in India due to their gender. It was a thrilling moment to captivate the audience with my message, as I began by quoting Mr. Kristof’s on what is currently referred to as ‘gendercide’:

“More girls were killed in the last 50 years, precisely because they were girls, than men killed in all the wars in the 20th century. More girls are killed in this routine gendercide in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the 20th century.”

Ultimately, I have come to realize that the messages that government leaders sustain between nation states may not resonate with the sentiments that citizens hold for each other. We need to advocate for a universal vision of peace, rather than becoming passive recipients to the politics of exclusion and hatred.

I was fortunate to receive encouragement from Half the Sky Movement as a Campus Ambassador and a Social Media Intern (India). It wouldn’t have been possible to build my initiative that advocates for girl-child rights without the support offered through the Half the Sky Movement Action Grant. I hope to continue my engagement to uphold the vision the movement inspires–“Turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide…”

About the Blogger
Arpita is a Half the Sky Movement Campus Ambassador in New Delhi, India at Lady Shri Ram College For Women, and a Social Media Intern. To find out more about the Campus Ambassador Program click here.