We have the pleasure of working with so many fabulous women. In honour of International Women’s Day, this month we will feature three incredible Ethiopian women with whom we work. Today we introduce Meseret Daniel.
Talk about a role model.
Meseret Daniel is a successful, ambitious, and determined woman we met during our time in Soddo, Ethiopia. Like most of us, she wears other hats, too: mother, teacher, social worker.
We were first introduced to Meseret at Wolaita Village when we went to visit the WRAPS (washable, reusable, affordable pads) project. Meseret is business manager of the Wolaita Village, and she plays an absolutely invaluable role. We saw her amazing relationship with the women who work at the WRAPS project, and we were in awe of her skills during outreach trips to distribute the pads and teach girls and women about the female reproductive system.
If only you could see her in action. She's funny, engaging, informative, and above all, respectful. It's amazing to see Meseret translate and help share information about WRAPS. It's all about connection, and Meseret seems to be able to connect with women from all different walks of life.
Meseret played an invaluable role in helping us interview women, many of whom had very difficult lives. She translated for us with sensitivity, compassion and responded to the women with such feeling and love. Without Meseret and our other wonderful translators, we would not have been able to bring home the stories we heard while in Ethiopia.
One of the biggest changes she's seen in her country over the past number of years is a focus on education, particularly for children, Meseret said.
"The girls are going to school. That is a really big change. Even in the rural area - any girl, she should go to school," she said. It seems to be a view that's becoming more common among parents and community members, even those who may not be formally educated.
Meseret also had stellar advice for young ladies in Ethiopia - or anywhere, really.
"Women, especially, they think themselves down. That is the problem. I say 'don't (put) yourself down," she said. "Negative thinking is inside a lot of ladies. Even sometimes when they are educated, they are scared," she said.
If only we all had Meseret in our lives to spread kindness and encouragement.
"Always, they are thinking 'I can't. I'm not able. I'm not good enough,' she said.
"Don't think you are nothing. You are strong!"