Travel Log 11: “Holding Up Half the Sky” by Meghan Thorogood Florence, Italy

The documentary, Half the Sky, is one of the most powerful documentaries I have ever seen. Half the Sky takes you through six different stories that bring the horrible mistreatment of women to life. I was shocked by all of the stories shared throughout this documentary. It really made me take a step back and reevaluate, and more importantly, appreciate all the opportunities that I have. Most of us take these opportunities we are given for granted, myself included. We see school as a hassle and do not appreciate the value of our education until we are much older. While around the world their are young girls fighting for their right to be educated. As an aspiring teacher, I think the fact that children are being denied an education really struck a chord with me. However, besides the lack of an education, these stories display how the treatment of girls worldwide is not acceptable and that something needs to be done.


One story that really stuck with me was that of Somaly Mam. Somaly runs a safe haven for girls who have been trafficked into brothels and the sex slave industry. By doing this, she helps young girls gain back their confidence and gives them a loving, supporting family they can lean on. During the documentary, viewers were given the opportunity to see just how Somaly rescues these girls. Somaly risks her life, to the point where the camera crew has to leave but things might escalate and become to dangerous. This shows just how much she cares for these girls. Somaly’s compassion is unlike any other because Somaly herself was trafficked into the sex slave industry. This women does not even know her own name and had to witness horrible things. However, somehow she still has the strength to be the glimmer of hope for other girls going through the same thing.  These girls have gained so much courage since being at the safe haven that they even go out and teach men about how to practice safe sex. It is really amazing how one place and one women can impact the lives of some many. They are truly a shining light in the darkness. I hope others see Somaly and have the same compassion as she does and open up more safe havens for victims of sex trafficking.


Another big thing I took away from the story of Somaly and her girls was their desire to learn. Those girls have been to hell and back and most people in their situation would have already given up. But not these girls. Somaly’s girls are some of the strongest girls I have ever seen. Not only do they recognize what has happened to them in their past, instead of bottling it in, they use it as fuel. They help each other cope, in whatever way that may be, and they support each other in striving to be the best version of themselves they can be. Not only as an aspiring teacher, but as a person, words can’t even begin to describe how big of an impact Somaly and the girls story has had on me.


Personally, as I am sure many other people feel, I find the practice of brothels and the sex slave industry repulsive. I understand that every society is different and has different norm, but selling girls as young as three years old into brothels and sex slavery should never be a norm. Girls should not have to fear whether they will end up in a brothel or not. I think everyone should watch the documentary or read the book. Half the Sky gives us an insight to different parts of the world that we would otherwise not see. To me, receiving an education up until at least high school, being able to make decisions for myself is, and so much more are just basic rights. But put into perspective, I am privileged. No women in the world deserves to be striped of rights that are so basic. Worldwide women should be given the opportunity to receive an education. This documentary has only made this opinion grow and I hope I can help do something about it. I do not know what that may be yet, but I know something has to be done.



2 thoughts on “Travel Log 11: “Holding Up Half the Sky” by Meghan Thorogood Florence, Italy

  1. I really agree with the fact that most people take education for granted. We constantly complain about all the school work that we have or having an 8 am. But, there are people who would do anything to take our place in that 8 am. I think that every college student or student in general should have to watch this documentary. People should be more grateful for the opportunities that we have every single day. I think it is great that you are working towards becoming a teacher because education is one of the most important things.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Meghan,
    I couldn’t agree with you more, out of all of the stories, the ones in which girls as young as 3 were being sex trafficked, were the ones that were the hardest and the most foul for me to read. When reading this book, I felt angry, angry that these poor women and children have to endure such tragedy and abuse, and angry at how ungrateful I am of my freedom as a young woman in America. l never considered how much of a blessing it is to have choice and control over my body and my future, I just always assumed it was my basic human right and that I am entitled to it, not considering that in parts of the world, there are people who are not treated as people and who don’t have the luxury of having their basic human rights.

    Liked by 1 person

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