Happy International Women’s Day

Last year I traveled around the world making videos about women's empowerment. It was a year well spent. Here are a selection of those videos to help you celebrate and recognize women today. 

SEEDS OF JOY

Shot for USAID in El Salvador, this story features designer and businesswoman Lula Mena. Lula works with Salvadoran communities to create eco-friendly and Fair Trade products. In a country where a third of the population lives in poverty, much of her work is with people who lack full-time jobs and struggle to make ends meet—people like Ana Mindy, María, María Victoria, Ana Marina, Vidalia, and Evelyn. Lula designs the products, and the women make them by hand, painstakingly combining different-colored strings, seeds and nuts to make unique, meaningful creations. They call their line of products ‘Seeds of Joy.’

ZUBEIDA: ON MY OWN TWO FEET

Zubeida has a radiant smile. She’s a petite, cheerful and loving mother and wife. But she was born with polio and has trouble walking and struggles to do tasks that some consider ordinary. To many, she is seen as worthless. When she walks down the street, she is met with mockery and stares. She has faced this reality her entire life. “This hurts my heart very, very much,” she says. With help from USAID, Zubeida has been able to transform her own dreams into reality. This inspiring woman tells her story in her own words. Filmed in 2015.

CAIRO STEM SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

In Cairo Egypt, a very special school is teaching girls STEM skills to prepare them for a very special world—one that gives women equal opportunities in technological fields.

JUST BRING A CHAIR

For more than four years the Syrian crisis has driven refugees from their homes and into neighboring Jordan. In this touching story, one school principal makes room for these children in her already over crowded school. Shot for USAID in Fall 2015.

RAGHAD'S REFUGE

In 2015, I traveled to Jordan for USAID to help tell the story of the friendship between two young girls. One Jordanian, one Syrian. The video is part of Michelle Obama's Let Girls Learn campaign. Thumbnail photo ©Thomas Cristofoletti for USAID

Main post photo ©Thomas Cristofoletti for USAID