Draft for Module 1
Here is the draft of my first assignment. I will appreciate if you share your comments and maybe even some ideas about the title.
Photo I am adding is just to make a day and mood, it doesn't have relation to the text, just to enjoy! Wishing to everyone a beautiful day!
Behind the Black Sea is Muslim Turkey, to the right is Catholic Europe and to the left is Orthodox Russia. At the point of this historical crossroad a young woman with long hair, open face, modern glasses, six months pregnancy and gentle smile is standing on the beach of her native town Yevpatoria, city located on the edge of Crimea Peninsula in the south of multicultural country called Ukraine. Thousand years ago ancient Greeks, Romans, Genoese, Mongols and Tatars left their footprints on this land.
These people brought their traditions, and these traditions were not always healthy. For example, tobacco smoking. In Crimea – as in the rest of the world - smokers are mostly men and passive smokers are mostly women. Inna Miroshnychenko understood she was the one who could change the situation and help women to protect their right for healthy environment. That’s how she became the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Coalition “Smoke Free Crimea”, one the most important regional program on public health initiated by NGO. Today Coalition unites such prestigious organizations as Ministry of Health, Republican Oncology Center, Children's Clinical Hospital, different NGOs. But before this she had to go through the long road of disappointments and rebirth.
After Inna received a diploma of a specialist on economics she was involved by her mother into a new municipal environmental project. “My mother always was the best example of creativeness and leadership. Until now she inspires me with her energy and original approaches even to her daily duties,” shares Inna. The project aimed at improving of the environment of her native city was the first working place for Inna. She had to negotiate with local authorities and it was her first big challenge, because almost all of them were “respectable” men who refused to see a colleague in a young lady.
In Ukraine the image of a woman is full of old clichés. It is a wife, a keeper of hearth, a nurse, a cooker... Facing every day with these clichés a woman must fight for her place and prove that she is not worse than a man.
Step by step, word by word Inna insisted on her vision and proposals, offering persuasive presentations she reached her goals and finally was accepted and heard.
The real conflict appeared unexpectedly, with her partner. He was much older and stubbornly refused to accept strategies offered by Inna just because she was a woman and young. He blocked all her proposals. Sad and disappointed Inna had to leave the project. But if you were born as a leader you cannot avoid your destiny. She could not just watch after what was happening around, she wanted to participate and make changes. As a member of environmental NGO she wrote a proposal and received financial support for tobacco control project in Crimea.
Her usual day begins from checking mail and clipping news on public health, tobacco control and civil initiatives. She brings her daughter to the kindergarten and moves to the meeting with local authorities. Often she receives invitations from journalists and goes to participate in talk shows or press conferences. When she arrives to the office she has a meeting with her team to discuss plans for the next days which include monitoring, street actions, media releases, budget planning etc.
Her team in Organizing Committee consists only from women. Inna says that women are more active in their rights’ protection. “We tell them that they have rights and give them tools to protect these rights. This is not only the right for smoke free air for you and your child. This is a common mechanism for protection of any human right. Ukrainian women should remember that they have equal rights with men. We were born not to serve men but to create alliance and bring harmony to this world,” Inna says.
Members of the Coalition held many street actions, but every time they appeal to the same: “Protect your rights! Don’t be silent! Legislation defends us, but the real protection begins when we don’t allow violations happen every day around us. Protect yourself and people around you. Speak and you will be heard!”
When you want to change the world in the beginning it seems impossible. Four years ago, when Inna started her tobacco control project Ukraine took the fourth place in the world for the percentage of smokers by the assessment of the World Health Organization. In 2013 Ukraine was recognized as one of the leaders of tobacco control, it removed from the shameful 4th to the 29th place on the amount of smokers (from 37% till 21.8%).
“It’s a big honor to understand you are a part of these changes which save people’s lives. But I could not succeed alone. This victory is only because of the amazing team we have. Here, in Crimea, and all over Ukraine. This is the secret why so many people support us,” Inna shares.
One year ago she was selected to participate in the annual John Hopkins School of Public Health Leadership Program in Global Tobacco Control (Baltimore, USA). Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, probably the most famous fighter against tobacco, shook her hand and admitted high results of Ukraine in tobacco control.
Learning is a nonstop process, Inna believes: “Education helps to improve the quality of thinking.” Public education takes significant part in her work. “Smoking is not a tradition. It’s a smelling killer who takes 110,000 lives of Ukrainians annually. For us it was a big challenge, and after so many frustrations I can see situation changes. People more actively protect their rights now.”
Feeling the breeze on her face Inna notices that the air is fresh and free from tobacco smoke. Warm sand is clean. She takes a hand of her daughter, embrace her husband, and they walk into sunset. Tomorrow will be another day and another battle. But today she deserved a minute to enjoy the results of her winnings.