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Fulfilling my vision through Voices of Our Future

Japanese parents make a wish for their children and embed it in the characters of their child’s name. When I was born, my parents chose the characters “mi”, which means “people,” and “ho”, which means “rice,” the staple food of Japan. In so doing, they wished that I would become a leader of the ‘people’ who would promote democratic society, where all voices are equally heard. My parents also valued rice fields as symbols of Japanese culture and understood the role rice fields played in preserving water and providing animal habitat. By giving me this name, my parents hoped that I would also become a protector of Japan’s unique ecological and cultural heritage. In addition, my birthdate is the day that US Congress officially recognized as Women’s Equality Day. The older I get, the deeper I connect to the meaning of my name and my birthdate, which calls me to create a vision for myself, my community, and the world.

My vision for my life is to cultivate inner-peace, and be kind, loving, and compassionate to myself, others, and the environment. I hope to share these values with my community and beyond. This vision led me to become an environmental and outdoor educator where I could connect my diverse students with the natural world and inspire them to take responsible actions to sustain our planet. Through teaching, I discovered the need for increased awareness of multi-cultural role models in environmental fields, particularly women of color, to make them more inclusive for all people. This passion became the foundation of my project: “If She Can Do It, You Can Too: Empowering Women Through Outdoor Role Models.” I am using my project as a medium to help people see the world through a different lens and become allies in an effort to create environmental career and educational opportunities for people from all walks of life. I hope my project would inspire people to overcome any challenges in order to reach their dreams.

I am already taking steps to achieve this vision in my personal life, in my community, and with my project. I take care of my mind, body and spirit by meditating and surfing regularly, and surrounding myself with diverse friends. In my teaching community, I take leadership roles by developing multi-cultural environmental education curricula and facilitating diversity trainings for co-workers. With my project, I have collected inspirational stories from over 70 women from 7 countries around the world. To share these stories, I developed my website as well as a Facebook page and YouTube channel. Most recently, I have been documenting voices of Native American women activists in America’s public land. I created a blog to share my learning, raise awareness of American Indians’ rights, and call for actions that need immediate support from all people. I also give presentations at organizations, companies and schools, sharing these stories as a way to inspire people to take actions to create a more equal and just world together.

To better reach people outside of my community, I have several goals that being a Voices of Our Future Correspondent can help me achieve to turn my vision into reality. First, I want to create a network of women from around the world who can benefit from my project. By using Web 2.0, I can promote my project, continuing to write and connect with other women at a more personal level. Second, I can look for opportunities for additional funding and speaking engagements. Third, I hope to find partners who would collaborate with me to produce a documentary on the issues that my project focuses on. Finally and most importantly, I want to learn how to write as a citizen journalist so that I can publish articles in magazines such as World Pulse and ultimately write a book.

In an effort to live my life that honors my name and birthdate, I am seeking to continue on this path toward empowering women through outdoor role models. Becoming a Voices of Our Future Correspondent is the perfect next step on this path.


judyschiller's picture


Hello, Mihoaida,
I loved reading your personal story regarding your name, your birthdate, and how you're living up to the name you were given. I also really like the name of your project, If she can do it, so can you! That is very inspirational!

I am interested in looking at your website if you're willing to share it. I am curious who some of the "outdoor role models" are that you're writing about.

I liked that you wrote that you are including yourself in the first person to be compassionate to! Being compassionate to ourselves is often the hardest person of all to be compassionate/caring to.

Your writing is fantastic, and I am inspired by your goals. I wish you much success in your projects, and please share with all of us at World Pulse/Pulse Wire how we can "follow" you further.

All the best,
Judy Schiller

mihoaida's picture

Here is my website

Hello Judy,

Thank you so much for reading my journal entry. This piece was extremely difficult to write. When I shared the birthdate story with my mom this summer ( I just found out about it this summer), and told her what a coincident it is for me to choose a women empowerment project as my career, she said, "Miho, it is not a coincident, it is meant to be. You are meant to do this work. We want you to become such a person since you were born." It is not easy to live up to my name and birthdate but I am taking steps to get closer to it.

I also appreciate your curiosity to check out my website. If you click on stories tab, you can check out almost all women I have worked with. I have not updated my most recent work, so please watch this documentary (takes only 10 minutes) I just finished called "Hear Us | Oglala Lakota Women for Badlands National Park." I just met a Native American woman who wants me to profile their effort to build an education center on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. She wants me to produce something similar to my most recent documentary. I am extremely honored to have this opportunity.

With my full-time teaching job and my own project, I often feel swamped. I learned to be compassionate to and take care of myself in order to take care of others and the world. It is a life-long practice but I can feel a difference when I am healthy and in a good state of mind. I hope all people would be able to practice to be loving to ourselves.

I would love World Pulse/Pulse Wire to follow me and my project! How do I do that? Should I keep writing in my journal? Should I contact someone inside of World Pulse? I am still new to this community and I have a lot to learn on how to navigate through World Pulse. So, please share with me what I need to do if you can. I would greatly appreciate it!

Again, thank you so much for taking your time to read my story, Judy!



Miho Aida

amymorros's picture

Web 2.0

You have really reached out through web 2.0. to so many communities through your website, blog, and FB page! Your environmental work is very interesting and I admire your lifestyle (if only I was more active!).


mihoaida's picture

Thank you!

Hi Amy,

I am still trying to figure out how I can better reach many communities around the world but it reached you! Thank you so much for reading my journal entry and I am looking forward to keeping my website, blog and FB page active.


Miho Aida

kati.mayfield's picture

being who we are meant to be

Dear Miho,

You have touched on something very important in this entry - that who we are is a wonderful combination of "destiny" and "drive" - what fate lays out for us and what we decide to do along the way. I LOVE getting to read about the story of your name.

I am very touched by your "The Women I Met" website - just today I worked on an environmental restoration project in my community, planting thousands of trees by a river with local women and their families. Working with and caring for the environment reminds us of how to best care for ourselves!

I will very much look forward to reading your posts in the future!


*resolved this year to think twice and to smile twice before doing anything*

mihoaida's picture

My name, my destiny

Hello Kati,

It took me a long time to realize the depth of the connection between who I am and my destiny, in fact, not until I met Nimdoma Sherpa who talked about her name, her caste (social class) and her dream in Nepal 2 years ago. It was a great realization and since then, I am more clear with my vision for myself, my community and the world.

Thank you for checking my website! Your story of restoring your community by planting trees sounds familiar - reminds me of my time with many women in Kiangong near Mt. Kenya. I am currently working with American Indian women activists in public land in the US. I will look forward to writing about it more in the future.

And...... thanks for reminding me to smile before doing anything! It is the best medicine we ever had.



Miho Aida

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