Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Henderson House

Last summer I went to New Mexico to make a documentary short for the YWCA about the Henderson House, a home that was created to get homeless women veterans off the street and back into solid and secure lives.

I didn't know what to expect with my interviews, but speaking with these women changed my life. All the women veterans I spoke with have PTSD because of sexual abuse in the military. It's one thing to read about these stories, but to hear their stories in person was something else. I am so disgusted by how these women were treated by men in the military and how they weren't taken care of after serving for our country. Society and the government left them homeless. Most of it was painful for me to digest, but the light in the darkness was the Henderson House, which is really the first home of its kind in the country where these women can bounce back with all the love and support they need. There have been homeless shelters for women veterans in the states, but the women had to share the space with male veterans. Imagine how hard it is to trust a male veteran after experiencing sexual abuse in the military for years on end. And what's unique about the Henderson House is that it isn't just a shelter--it's a proper home.Watch the video below or see the longer version here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thoughts on Kony 2012

I don't have a lot of answers. This is a long rant so I'll sum it up here at the top.
1. I congratulate Invisible Children just as much as I question them. I hope they succeed in healing the wounds of child soldiers & trafficking in Uganda and beyond.
2. Let the majority of voices of the Kony Campaign come from the Ugandans. 
3. Kony is not in Uganda--Invisible Children should have made this clear in the video.
4. I don't believe sending US troops is necessarily the best answer.
5. Look before you donate. 
6. In the end, my opinions don't matter too much. The big question is, "What do the Ugandans want?"

My professional background makes me very interested in Kony 2012. I spent ten years working in international development, in war torn places like Cambodia, East Timor and a solid two-year stint in Kabul, Afghanistan. 

Am I impressed with Kony 2012? Yes! Do I have issues with Kony 2012? Yes! And I'm grateful that it has evolved the way it has, because the world is discussing what it means to be sustainable in international development. In this Internet world where everything is so visible and where it's easy to donate with the click of a button, it's important to question as much as it is to praise this campaign. We have some lessons to learn, especially as we collectively address and move deeper into the healing of our global community.