Mill Valley, California
After 35 years in marketing and corporate communications, I decided to take a sabbatical. My idea was that for one year, I would do only the things I loved most and wanted to learn next. I loved photography and travel. And I wanted to learn about women in the developing world. Those passions led me to create a book. I had no idea how much fun that project would be and I never went back. I've now documented women's lives in 40 countries.
My books are a legacy that provides a revenue stream to organizations that are doing important work. I am donating 100 percent of my royalties from the newest book, Women Who Light the Dark, to the Global Fund for Women.
Creating In Her Hands, Craftswomen Changing the World, Toby Tuttle and I documented women artisan's income-generation projects in 12 countries. I observed that women around the world were working on additional, complicated problems -- it wasn't just income poverty that made life difficult. It was also disease, discrimination, domestic violence, sex trafficking, illiteracy, malnutrition and lack of education. Women were-and are -- fighting to find ways to diminish these issues for their families. I wanted to make their work more visible.
Women Who Light the Dark features 23 organizations in 15 countries, 18 of which are grantees of the Global Fund. The groups are working on the most intractable issues that face women and their families-the issues that make life dark. Their perseverance, abilities, resourcefulness and imaginations light the dark. They are succeeding, and they are inspiring.
I have been an enthusiastic donor to the Global Fund for a dozen years but visiting 18 grantees showed me exactly how effective local women can be if they have the funds to do what they know should be done. Everywhere, I saw grassroots groups developing creative strategies -- their own solutions -- and being impressively capable of resolving the difficulties they face.
My dream about Women Who Light the Dark is that readers will give money through organizations like the Global Fund for Women -- and enable local women everywhere to make life better for their families, communities, countries, and our world.