Travel Log 11: “Half the Sky” by Ben Raymond. Brisbane, Australia

Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn is a narrative addressing many of the problems that women in third world countries are facing today. Within the book, the primary issues that were addressed were rape culture, sex trafficking, micro-finance, women’s education, and genital mutilation. Throughout the documentary, the prominent theme that connected each of the issues was the fact that the rest of the world has chosen to ignore many of these topics as they happen globally every day. Furthermore Kristof and WuDunn make it quite clear that ignorance never helps strengthen a strong global community.

One of the most noteworthy figures that spoken of in the documentary, was a girl named Somana. Somana was only fourteen when she was rescued from a Cambodian brothel, where she had a personal experience being involved with sex trafficking. Years after recovering from this traumatic part of her life, she had chosen to devote much of her time towards informing men about the dangers of STIs, and to furthermore practice safe sex habits. During an interview, she spoke in great length about her terrible experience in the brothel, including all of the horrible acts that were done to her – ranging from sex, to severe physical and mental abuse. While being involved with this brothel, Somana’s eye was gouged out by one of the owners. For having complained about the abuse, she was then sent back to ‘work.’ In my eyes, Somana should be seen as a true hero – not only has she survived through unimaginable conditions, but she has also turned that negativity into optimism and a passion to change the world. As hard as it was to hear every detail of Somana’s story, her struggles deserve to be heard in order to make a change. Another true “hero” in my eyes is Kristof. Through his help, Somana, along with many other victimized people were able to share their story with the world. Kristof realized the importance of sharing these details and acted as a bridge, closing the gap between third and first-world countries. With the help of technology, we are now able to fight for the common goal of universal human rights. There is no excuse – equality is necessary. The documentary of Half the Sky can only have a certain amount of effectiveness; it is up to the viewer or reader to do their job in this battle for human rights as well. I would personally like to make it a point to volunteer at one of the organizations represented in the documentary in order to do my part in solving third-world oppression. Creating awareness is crucial in order to win this battle.

In my personal field of study, which is marketing, there are several ways in which I can make a positive contribution to this cause. While in the professional field of business, I plan to develop my entrepreneurial skills in order to open a firm of my own. Within this firm, I plan to have a heavy focus on philanthropic projects. One of my most recent ideas which I plan to implement, is a charitable foundation called Heels for Humanity. Through this project, I plan to work alongside local bread manufacturers, collecting the heels off of the loaves of bread (which would most likely be going to waste). Once collected, this bread would be distributed to third world countries, or areas that require disaster relief. By redistributing what would have been discarded, my team and I will be able to make an impact in solving world hunger. Such a simplistic idea could save the lives of many. I intend for this motion to become a standard amongst bread companies throughout the world – where it is expected to become a part of the Heels for Humanity team. When an essential problem like starvation is solved, we will be able to move onto equally pressing issues such as sex trafficking or education.


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