When I picked up Moment of Lift I expected to read about the wonderful work Melinda Gates was doing with the team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I expected to feel good, inspired and possibly even motivated to do more.
So, imagine my shock when I burst into tears on a jam-packed flight to Johannesburg while reading this book. The gentleman next to me didn’t quite know what to do so he pretended he didn’t see me cry. I put the book down because I knew it had struck a trigger. Then, I picked it back up and faced my past.
Yes, it does cover the wonderful work being done in so many countries around world and it speaks about the many challenges women still face. It unpacks the complexity around women in poverty and the impact this has on the generations that follow. She has written about the lack of control many women face: control over their life choices, their bodies, their minds and their future. It was the extent of this lack of control that completely shook me and the realisation that I had the opportunity, once, to make a choice and it completely changed the course of my life.
In her book, Melinda does well to acknowledge her position of privilege and throughout the book she reminds the reader of the stark differences in her reality and that of the women she wants to lift. I would be amiss if I did not reflect on probably the most inspiring quote in the book: “When you lift up women, you lift up everybody – families, communities, entire countries.”
Melinda shares the stories of so many inspiring women, unsung heroes who will never be famous or acknowledged as pioneers, and yet their work is incredibly brave and will change the lives of their children’s children and their neighbours’ children’s children. Moment of lift personified.
I strongly believe that every women , irrespective of creed, race, or privilege should read this book. It is a reminder of the power we have when see each other; understanding that everyone has something to share, even if it may not appear that way. There are many good people and good organisations trying to do good in this world but they fail to recognise that their context should be null and void if they want to achieve genuine social impact. Melinda’s approach to philanthropy is not only refreshing, but much needed.
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