Human Rights Activist Molly Melching Visits FSU

Molly Melching speaks at FSU.
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By: Symone Davis
March 28, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- In 1974, Molly Melching went on a study abroad trip to Dakar, Senegal. Little did she know that trip would turn into a 42-year long career. Melching is now the founder of the Tostan, a basic education program for women and children.

“It went from that one village now to us being in hundreds, even thousands of villages across West Africa working to empower communities to lead their own development,” said Melching.

Monday evening, Melching came to FSU to share her experiences with the program.

One topic she spoke passionately about it is introducing human rights education into the program in 1996.

She said after that, women in these villages started banning together to end female genital cutting and child marriage.

"We're now in more than 7,000 communities that have decided to end those practices, harmful traditional practices. Not because anyone told them to do that, but because they learned their human rights to health and the responsibility to make sure their own daughters were in good health,” said Melching.

Melching says while her work is overseas, students can take what they're learning now and apply those same concepts of empowerment right here in the U.S.

"There’s a lot of work to be done in terms of women’s rights, human rights. All lives matter, black lives matter, girl’s lives matter,” said FSU student Sophia Rahming.

"I think an important thing is to critique our own society and know that we don't have all the answers and that we can learn from other places," said FSU Student Kaitlyn Hicks.

Melching will be speaking on FSU’s campus Tuesday afternoon at the College of Education from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in room G152.

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