A Message From The Creator

“Peace requires us to surrender our illusions of control. We can love and care for others but we cannot possess our children, lovers, family, or friends. We can assist them, pray for them, and wish them well, yet in the end their happiness and suffering depend on their thoughts and actions, not on our wishes.” 
― Jack Kornfield

Inspirational Woman Of The Day

Gayle King (born December 28, 1954) is a co-anchor of CBS This Morning and an editor-at-large for O, The Oprah Magazine.

King was born in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Her father was an electrical engineer and her mother was a homemaker. As a result of her father’s work, King spent several years of her childhood in Turkey, where she attended an American school. The family later returned to Maryland. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 1976 with a double degree in psychology and sociology. King then moved to Kansas City, Missouri where she was a reporter and weekend anchor at WDAF-TV. In 1981, she was hired as a news anchor for WFSB in Hartford, Connecticut, where she worked for 18 years. In 1991, King briefly cohosted an NBC daytime talk show with Robin Wagner called Cover to Cover until it was cancelled. She was married to Bill Bumpus, an attorney and an assistant attorney general in Connecticut, from 1982 to 1993. In 1997 she was offered her own syndicated talk show, The Gayle King Show, which was later cancelled due to low ratings.

King joined O, The Oprah Magazine as an editor in 1999. She has also worked as a special correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show and Good Morning America. In September 2006, King began to host The Gayle King Show on XM Satellite Radio.

King was rumored to be considered as a replacement for both Star Jones Reynolds (in 2006) and Rosie O’Donnell (in 2007) as a host on The View, but neither of these came to fruition. King was also rumored to have been a potential replacement if co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck had left The View in May 2009.

King began hosting a new show, also called The Gayle King Show, on OWN on January 3, 2011.

On November 10, 2011, King secured a deal with CBS to co-anchor CBS This Morning, beginning on January 9, 2012. As a result, The Gayle King Show ended on November 17, 2011.

King is known for a friendship with Oprah Winfrey that dates back to 1976. King is also friends with Howard Stern, despite Stern’s and Winfrey’s criticisms of each other.As of 2009, King lives in the same Manhattan building as Robin Quivers, Howard Stern’s long-time sidekick.

King is the mother of two children. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park

Women Making A Difference

Making a Difference: Kenyan Woman Mentors Community Groups, Teaches Basic Skills

Poor women in western Kenya often struggle to support their families with almost no resources. Many have formed income-generating groups to be able to do so. In our latest Making a Difference series we meet one woman, Sherry Otuoma, who teaches these groups basic principles and skills on how to raise themselves out of poverty. 

Sherry Otuoma, Kenyan community volunteer. “If you do not keep records, you might think that you are gaining, but you are losing. Is it good to gain or to lose?” she asked.

Sherry Otuoma stresses the importance of keeping accurate, up-to-date records.  She wants to make sure that members of Namwitsula Widows and Widowers’ Group are accountable to one another.

Otuoma is a volunteer with Heifer International – Kenya, a non-government organization that supports the projects of 82 community groups here in western Kenya and others nationwide.

Accountability is one of several principles Otuoma teaches some five groups like Namwitsula each month.  Members have learned to make collective decisions, resolve conflicts and form long-term plans.

“Before, they were not aware how they can come together as a team. They did not know how they can start [a] business,” she said. “Now, if they come together as a group, you train them, and now they can start their own income-generating activities.” 

These activities include milk production, organic farming, and brick-making.

After the training, Otuoma conducts follow-up visits to see how members are doing.  She says she encourages group members to plan their own projects. “You can just go to the group to guide them but not to give them your objectives, because it is not you who want to achieve that, it is them that want to achieve that,” she said. 

Namwitsula Widows and Widowers’ Group is one of Otuoma’s big success stories.  In four years ago, members have more than tripled their maize yields.  Their income has risen to an average of more than 10 dollars a day from less than 50 cents a day.  And some have bought solar panels and wells.

Many members are raising children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in addition to their own children.

Around 60 percent of people in western Kenya are said to be living below the poverty line.  Otuoma has been there. She had four children shortly after getting married at 20.  She had to feed and educate them after her husband took a second wife.

In 1991, Otuoma received a cow from Heifer International – Kenya. From milk sales she was able to send two of her four children to school. She now supports her grandson among others.  

Otuoma says that she uses her own experience to encourage group members.
“I tell them, you people, you can change. You people, you will benefit. You people, you cannot believe that one day you will be the people helping other people,” she stated.

Otuoma has been a full-time volunteer trainer with Heifer International – Kenya since 2000, planting the seeds that will enable women in western Kenya to grow and flourish. 

The Inspiration Of A Young Woman Giving Back

Photo: Pabla Morena Milian

Pabla Moreno Milian is an energetic, passionate, and skilled birth attendant who has been working for the past two years to save lives in her home community of Chisec, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. A mature 22-year-old, Pabla is the only daughter in her family to have received the opportunity to obtain a school education. In return, she has dedicated her life to giving back to her community. In the 20 villages where Pabla works, there was not a single maternal death in 2006 and 2007.

In Guatemala, Pabla and many other young women are truly making a difference to reduce maternal mortality in their communities. These exceptional leaders, known as Mayan auxiliary nurse-midwives, form part of a training program developed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) with the support of the USAID/Calidad en Salud program, which is placing skilled birth attendants in remote Mayan communities of Guatemala. In these communities, a common language is spoken, yet lack of acceptance of modern obstetric techniques remains a real threat. Amidst these and many other obstacles faced in rural communities, these dedicated young women are contributing to lives saved.

Since 2005, the Mayan auxiliary nurse-midwives have received training to address the root causes of high maternal mortality rates in Guatemala’s remote rural areas. Under an eight-month scholarship program, which combines clinical training with aspects of Mayan culture, the nurse-midwives have been trained to instruct and supervise traditional birth attendants, provide quality pre and postnatal care, and more effectively attend births. Perhaps most importantly, the nurse-midwives are trained to quickly detect signs of complications and to refer patients in time to receive the critical medical care they need. In addition, the nurse-midwives are working with families and traditional caregivers to train them in recognizing warning signs and with communities to establish emergency plans to transport patients to health centers and hospitals.

Amalia Lem Coy, another Mayan auxiliary nurse-midwife, describes one of her first complications and successful referral, which took place in the village of Paquix. “One of the first things I did as I began work in my community was form a health commission within the community so that in a time of emergency, help is available. A month after forming this committee, I received a call from one of the health [workers], Don Santiago, who came looking for me early in the morning as I was preparing to start my daily visits. Don Santiago reported that the local midwife was with a woman, Ana, who was experiencing prolonged labor; they had been working on her birth for more than 24 hours and needed assistance. Upon arrival, I checked her vital signs, which were normal. Nevertheless, Ana was experiencing irregular contractions and had more than 12 hours of broken membranes. Quickly, I thought, we need to activate the community emergency plan. Ana was carried in seat to the health center by the commission for 45 minutes. The health center took her in, hydrated her, and monitored her birth. Three hours later she was mother of a healthy new boy.”

Initial data from the program show that the 88 nurse-midwives who have been placed so far have referred more than 400 women to clinical services. The auxiliary nurses have worked with community emergency committees to facilitate timely transfer of women with complications, thereby addressing another significant obstacle to appropriate medical care.

ntegral to their success is the trust and confidence built with the traditional midwives. According to Pabla, “I work closely with the local midwives to monitor all pregnant women in the community to schedule visits and plan for delivery. We keep a list that tracks all of the women in need of maternal care. I have been working in my community for over two years now and the traditional midwife will not do anything without consulting me. We are a real team. In some of the more isolated communities where I work, I may stay the whole week to make sure the woman receives the support she needs, as transport is a real concern.”

The communities in which the Mayan auxiliary nurse-midwives work have also taken note. According to Oscar Ixquiac, “The community is incredibly grateful for the work of the Mayan auxiliary nurse-midwives. The work that they carry out is of equal satisfaction to us and to them. The fact that most originate from the communities where they work, speak the local language, and share the same customs supports their performance and has been critical to their success in reducing maternal mortality. Previously, many women and infants died here when they experienced complications at birth. However, with the help of the Mayan auxiliary nurse-midwives, this has changed.”

Pablo Castillo, a driver who has worked with MOH for more than 27 years, describes this program as “the program of miracles.” He says, “Never in my 27 years of working with the Ministry have I seen a program that truly reaches the people. The families and communities are so grateful for this influence of these young women and their support and offer what they have in return – tortillas, beans – anything to show their gratitude.”

The program continues to gain in credibility as MOH incorporates the position of Mayan auxiliary nurse-midwife into its salaried structure and has committed to training more auxiliary nurse-midwives. The Gynecological and Obstetric Association of Guatemala recently recognized them as honorary members of the Association.

Pabla dreams one day that all Guatemalans will have equal opportunities. Her contribution, as well as that of her peers, is a very important start.

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