This is one of my favorite photos. Bill and I had intended to take a romantic vacation to celebrate our engagement. It ended up being the start of an incredible learning journey. We began asking questions about what life was like for the families we met in East Africa—and why so much human potential was still being lost to the burdens of poverty and disease. At the end of the trip, we took a walk on the beach and decided that we were going to find a way to help.
We exercise power through the communities we create.
When I met Sa’adatu at a primary care clinic in Nigeria earlier this year, she’d just received a contraceptive implant. It was the first time she’d used contraceptives—a decision she made in partnership with her husband. Sa’adatu has big dreams for herself and her family. She wants to become a teacher, and even though her two children are still small—her youngest is four months, and her oldest is three years—she’s already thinking about what it will take to send them to college. She knows that being able to plan her family will make all of these dreams easier to achieve. Her story filled me with hope. And it echoes what I hear from mothers all over the world: to give our children the very best shot in life, we need access to contraceptives.