This compilation of interviews by debut editors Burke and Caso comes from The Women’s Eye, a radio show and website celebrating the accomplishments of women working for change.
“Our subjects’ goals are sometimes daunting and certainly wide-ranging,” say the editors. “They build schools where there were none, promote global women’s issues in treacherous places and uncover ingenious new ways to feed the hungry, rescue children and more.” Each entry is an excerpt from a website or radio interview and furthers the editors’ efforts “to spread stories of optimism, triumph, mission and purpose.” We learn about Maggie Doyne, who, on a gap year after high school, was moved by the desperate poverty she saw in Nepal. She wired home for her $5,000 in savings, used it to buy land in Surkhet, and built the Kopila Valley Children’s Home School, which she still runs today. Retired teacher and guidance counselor Estella Pyfrom also invested personal savings—roughly $1 million, though not all at once—buying a bus to bring computers and the internet to underprivileged Florida kids. Tina Hovsepian invented an inexpensive portable cardboard shelter for the homeless; it provides more than just a refuge from some of the elements. “In addition to providing a safe space, there is a psychological aspect,” she says. “Cardborigami provides…privacy, which you and I take for granted.” Other women have similarly inspiring accounts and are given space to tell those stories in their own words. Question prompts follow the journalistic “who, what, when, where, how” convention, but sometimes the interviews feel like press releases, and more in-depth discussions about how these experiences have changed the subjects would be welcome. The editors boast an enviable international network linking them to ordinary, often unheralded women who are “searching for solutions and new arenas of opportunity, and who [are] reaching out to improve the world in spite of the challenging circumstances.” The optimistic tone and diversity of the projects demonstrate that there are countless ways for those with vision to generate positive change.
Activists of all descriptions will find encouragement in these uplifting, albeit brief, success stories filled with recommendations and ideas.