Friday 7 October 2011

Inspiring Email

Received this last week:

It with a mixture and sadness and joy that I write after what seems like a long absence. I have been inspired by the death this week of a visionary leader, Dr Wangari Maathai.

For those of you unfamiliar with her journey, she was the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her work -The Green Belt Movement. She could have stayed in the lofty heights of academia - the first woman to earn a doctorate in Central and East Africa - but she returned to ground - the soil and women of Kenya.

She started this organisation because she listened: to the simple needs of women: wood to cook and to shelter their family. Its mission is to mobilise community consciousness  using tree-planting as an entry point to for self-determination, equity, improved livelihoods and security, and environmental conservation. Over 35 million trees have been planted! She has enabled people to see the holistic connection between the care for the environment, democracy, peace and sustainable income creation.

Wangari Maathai and Martha Cuffy RSA 2006
RSA Launch of "Unbowed"

It was a great honour to meet her before she died in 2006. Her wisdom, grace and keen intelligence shone through her presence and words.

I hope that her death inspires the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to award this year's Nobel Peace Prize to another African heroine and nominee, Leymah Gbowee of Liberia.

Leymah's dream led to the founding of a women's peace movement in a church that was instrumental in stopping 14  years of war in Liberia and resulted in the first and currently the only female head of State in Africa: President Ellen Sirleaf. Leymah is featured in the powerful documentary film "Pray The Devil Back To Hell"
Martha Cuffy
Team Architects - cultivating leaders with a connection to their passion, purpose and humanity. Box 2123, Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica, West Indies.

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