Acting is the art of telling a story. With a background and career that have provided her “the privilege to make a difference,” actor and activist, Maria Bello has co-founded a movement to advance the health, safety, and well being of women throughout Haiti.
Let us make no mistake here. This is not a publicity stunt. While at Villanova University she majored in Peace and Justice Education and worked at the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia. Today Maria Bello is putting her heart, soul and voice towards helping those who reside in some of the poorest slums in the western hemisphere. Back home she has been writing for the Huffington Post and speaking publicly on international women’s issues and gender-based violence around the world.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to hear her speak at the annual Women of the Week luncheon from 95.7Ben FM. She talked of our common connection as women and the movement to build our connections with women throughout the world. While she spoke, she humanized the women of Haiti to the 400 or so women in the room by telling their stories. As she put it, “We need new deliverables. And I think that new deliverable is storytelling.”
After all, in telling their stories she reminded us that their stories are not much different from our own. The one difference between the women in Haiti and the women at the luncheon, the only difference, is our geography. The stories she told also reminded us that we have the power to make a change. We have the power to empower the women of Haiti.
Since 2008, Maria Bello has worked with a network of Haitian women politicians, businesswomen and artisans to help raise money for the advancement of Haiti. She brought emergency relief supplies to Port au Prince six days after the earthquake in January 2010. Among her many efforts since then are the opening of a women’s clinic and education program in Cité Soleil under her organization, WE ADVANCE.
WE ADVANCE is dedicated to improving the health, safety, and well being of women in Haiti. The ultimate goal is to one day leave their programs in the hands of Haitian women. WE ADVANCE is piloting a unique and innovative program to leverage the financial and technical support for Haiti-based organizations to expand their presence and impact. Bello also co-founded the Jacmel Development Group, a consulting firm in that seeks to attract socially responsible investors to rebuild the town of Jacmel, Haiti into a tourist destination.
To learn more about WE ADVANCE or to make a donation that will help the women of Haiti and their children, go to: http://weadvance.org/.
Thanks to Maria Bello for telling a great story.