Hi! My name is Erika Foresman and I am from Willmar, Minnesota, a small town outside of the Twin Cities! I am 29 years old and work as a outpatient nurse while also attending graduate school for my doctorate in Family Nursing Practice. I am thrilled to have been chosen as a Her Ambassador and want to share a little about why I want to spread The Her Initiative’s message of clean water and basic health education to women and girls in countries that lack both of these precious resources so significantly.
As a nursing student, we were encouraged to build our nursing skills on top of a foundation of love, kindness, caring, and warmth to all we come in contact with. It’s important that our gift not only be in the skills we have studied, but also portrayed in the caring aspect that comes forth from the heart. We may not always have the medical answers a patient or family member needs, but the warmth in which you approach those in your care can translate across all languages and generations.
I read a book after graduating with my nursing degree called “Half the Sky” by Sheryl WuDunn & Nicholas Kristof. This book brought to my attention the significant lack of education and even basic health needs that women and young girls face in impoverished countries due to the lack of water. UNESCO and the World Health Organization cite that women and children, as the primary water collectors in many developing countries, walk more than 3 ½ miles or almost 6 hours per day to collect water. This means that young girls often miss out education and time in school that their male counterparts do not necessarily miss. While it is important that education be available for any young child and adolescent, the world significantly suffers when any girl is taken out of the classroom. Studies actually show that by keeping a girl in the classroom instead of out collecting water reduces child and maternal mortality as well as improved economic growth. Not to mention empowerment of thousands of girls and women!
I think fellow Her Ambassador, Taylor Kanigowski said it best: Water should not dictate a lifestyle, and it does not have to if we look beyond ourselves. Working with The Her Initiative and Healing Waters International is an amazing experience; not only in personal growth and empowerment, but also knowing that by providing these resources, we are helping to empower other young women to pursue their education and their dreams.
I cannot wait to see what working with my fellow Ambassadors, the Her Initiative, and Healing Waters International will create!