As you may know, my Dad, Tarsem Jutla, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly earlier this year. In the days and weeks following his passing, my Mom, Aman, and I received an outpouring of support from friends, family, and his former colleagues and employees around the globe. This support frequently came in the form of stories of Dad's leadership, compassion, and spirit (not to mention the mischief and pranks he was known for).
One of my favorite stories is about the time Dad walked from his school in Manchester, England, to his home in Leeds about 40 miles away. Last year, when asked why he did it, he explained that it was a personal challenge to see how far he could stretch himself--he believed man has no limits, and that our body is merely a vehicle for our soul. This story exemplifies an important principal Dad stood for all his life, namely that there is nothing you cannot do if you set your intention to it. Dad would have turned 61 this November 10, and in honor of him and his spirit, Dan and I will walk the same distance along the California coast.
On Saturday, November 12, 2016, we will venture out at 5 a.m. from the Hilton San Pedro and will end at Rocco's Cucina in Pacific Palisades. We invite anyone to join us whether it be for the entire walk, or just a portion (e.g., Venice to Santa Monica, Redondo Beach to Hermosa Beach, etc.). Our phones will be charged and on, and we expect to be out walking all day, so please feel free to reach out at any time to check in or join us.
We will also take this opportunity to raise money for an important cause. Dad was a great believer in the powers and capabilities of women. Growing up, he filled my bookcases with books about empowering women and the female advantage. He wrote inspirational letters to me during law school telling stories of influential women like Golda Meir and Indira Gandhi. Even following his passing, we received several messages from his former female employees in India, explaining how he mentored them and encouraged them to speak up for themselves despite the rampant inequalities in the workplace there.
With this in mind I have chosen to support Because I am a Girl because he believed so strongly in their goals, as do I. I have also sponsored a child in India, and invite you to do the same if you find that this cause means something to you. You can find more information about Because I am a Girl below, and you can donate by clicking the Donate button to the right.
Because I am a Girl (https://plan-international.org/because-i-am-a-girl[plan-international.org]) is a global movement of Plan International to ensure girls everywhere can learn, lead, decide, and thrive. Based on decades of experience and in-depth research, we know that changing the lives of girls changes the world. Community driven projects will address the areas most critical to women and girls: clean water, food security, healthcare, education, microfinance, and protection from violence and exploitation.
So, What is the Problem?
Girls in developing countries face overwhelming odds from the moment they are born. Because she is a girl, she’s more likely to suffer from malnutrition, be forced into an early marriage, be subjected to violence, be sold into the sex trade, or become infected with HIV. Because she is a girl, she faces discrimination in her own home. Because she is a girl, she’ll have limited access to a doctor or even a primary education (if she’s able to go to school at all). But we’re here to change all that. Because being a girl should always be a positive, empowering experience.
What We're Doing
Through our sustainable development projects, we reach out to the most marginalized and vulnerable populations of girls around the world, rigorously measuring our impact every step of the way. However, its not just a girl thing. We actively and strategically engage men and boys to take an active role in all of our initiatives because real change can’t happen without the support of the entire community.
The Long Term Impact
Experience and research consistently show that improving the lives of girls also lifts the condition of their families and their communities. Quite simply, investing in girls is the key to breaking the cycle of global poverty. Girls can change the world. But they can't do it without support.