However Long the Night: Molly Melching's Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls Triumph by Aimee Molloy, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
However Long the Night: Molly Melching's Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls Triumph

However Long the Night: Molly Melching's Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls Triumph

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by Aimee Molloy, Molly Melching
     
 

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In 1974, American exchange student Molly Melching arrived in Senegal for a six-month program that would become a forty-year journey of transformation. Inspired by her experiences living in a remote village, she founded Tostan, an organization dedicated to empowering communities by using democracy and human-rights-based education to promote relationships built upon

Overview

In 1974, American exchange student Molly Melching arrived in Senegal for a six-month program that would become a forty-year journey of transformation. Inspired by her experiences living in a remote village, she founded Tostan, an organization dedicated to empowering communities by using democracy and human-rights-based education to promote relationships built upon dignity, equality, and respect.

Tostan's groundbreaking strategies have led to better education for the women of rural Africa, improved health care, a decrease in child/forced marriage, and declarations by thousands of African communities to abandon the practice of female genital cutting. However Long the Night is the story of how Melching, named by Newsweek and the Daily Beast as one of the "150 women who shake the world," is paving the way to a world with human dignity for all.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/14/2013
Molloy offers a moving account of one woman’s struggle to empower African women and challenge tradition. Molly Melching, founder of the NGO Tostan in Senegal, went from a quiet life in small-town Illinois to running an educational organization that has had remarkable success in ending the practice of female genital cutting (FGC). This practice, known by most Senegalese women as “the tradition,” is intended to prepare a girl for marriage, and is performed by the women themselves. Most women consider the tradition to be a religious obligation required by the Koran, though the side effects include infections, childbirth difficulties, and even death. Melching, having lived in Senegal since 1974 as an exchange student, founded Tostan to set up classes in villages throughout the country to educate women on health, literacy, and human rights. After initial hesitation, they schooled students about the many health issues involved in FGC. In one village, women resolved to no longer cut their daughters, declaring so publicly in 1997. Native women and men travelled around the country to speak about the practice and convinced other villages to publicly end it. There is now the possibility of ending the practice in Senegal within one generation. Reading like a novel, this book demonstrates the power of education and grassroots organizing. Kristine Dahl, ICM. (May)
Former President - Jimmy Carter
"The story of Molly Melching and Tostan proves that determined and loving individuals can accomplish the seemingly impossible - abandonment of a harmful tradition that is thousands of years old."
Kirkus Reviews
The story of American development worker Molly Melching's founding and expansion of Tostan, an NGO focused on bringing awareness of human rights and a sense of empowerment to people living in remote African villages. Melching's transformation from Midwestern college graduate to thrill-seeking international crusader makes for compelling reading. After arriving in Senegal in 1974 for what was supposed to be a six-month student-exchange program at the University of Dakar, Melching decided to live and work there permanently. She spent years working as a Peace Corps volunteer, translator and children's book author. In 1991, she founded Tostan, which has become a highly respected organization with an astonishing record of success. Most famous among Tostan's myriad accomplishments is the work that has led nearly 5,000 Senegalese village councils to declare that they are abandoning the centuries-old practice of female genital mutilation, a painful ritual that can lead to severe health problems and even death. Molloy (co-author: Jantsen's Gift: A True Story of Grief, Rescue, and Grace, 2009, etc.) has a reporter's knack for selecting and arranging the most salient details of Melching's experiences, and the resulting story is moving and memorable. In keeping with Tostan's focus on empowering Africans to drive change within their own communities, Molloy writes almost as much about Melching's courageous African mentors and colleagues as she does about Melching. The book's only serious flaw is Molloy's zeal for her subject. Although it's obvious that Melching is brilliant, hardworking, compassionate, humble and brave, some readers may long for at least a glimpse of a flaw. Molloy mentions that Melching has erred in both her professional and personal lives, but her mistakes are never as vividly drawn as her triumphs, and readers are left with the impression that she is more saint than human. Uplifting and inspirational, particularly for those interested in international development.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
“Molly Melching saw a deeply disturbing but deeply entrenched practice and refused to accept that it couldn’t be stopped. Her relentless efforts are proof that commitment and partnership can drive transformational change.”
Melinda Gates
“This is the story of an extraordinary woman: Molly Melching. Molly has worked in Senegalese communities to improve lives of the country’s poorest people. . . . This book reinforced my belief that developing communities already have the potential to spark change that will lead to better lives for themselves and their families.”
Lisa See
“Melching’s incredible journey from Illinois to Africa, from graduate student to great humanitarian, is paralleled by the journey of the countless women touched by her work: a journey to understanding, empowerment and human dignity.”
Marianne Williamson
“ There is no way to overestimate the gift that Tostan and its leader, Molly Melching, have given to the world. The amount of suffering they have alleviated is beyond anything we can gauge. What a story, what a power, and what a blessing.”
Former President Jimmy Carter
“The story of Molly Melching and Tostan proves that determined and loving individuals can accomplish the seemingly impossible—abandonment of a harmful tradition that is thousands of years old.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062132765
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/30/2013
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

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Lisa See

“Melching’s incredible journey from Illinois to Africa, from graduate student to great humanitarian, is paralleled by the journey of the countless women touched by her work: a journey to understanding, empowerment and human dignity.”

Meet the Author

Aimee Molloy has collaborated on seven books, including Maziar Bahari's Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival and Pam Cope's Jantsen's Gift: A True Story of Grief, Rescue, and Grace. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and daughter.

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However Long the Night: Molly Melching's Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls Triumph 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
LauraFabiani More than 1 year ago
Wow, this book was such an inspirational read! There were moments when I was in tears and others when I wanted to whoop for joy. It is a book that every person, but especially women, can appreciate because it is the amazing story of Molly Melching, a fearless woman, known as one of the "most powerful women in women's rights". Through education and respect, she led African women to stand up for their rights and helped them celebrate their freedom. However Long the Night reads like a novel. It is the story of Molly, an American university student who went to Senegal in 1974 and decided to stay, loving the people of that land, their culture and their warmth. Feeling at home in a country so unlike her own, Molly saw the needs of the people. With the help of several Senegalese scholars, she opened a children's center, “where she used elements of traditional African culture to reach out-of-school children in their native Wolof language.” After experiencing life in remote African villages, Molly founded Tostan, an organization that promoted learning through education based on human rights, where villagers learned to read and write, and how to take care of themselves and their families through proper health care. This is where the topic of female genital cutting came up, a topic known as “the tradition” and never discussed, seen as a loving act to prepare a daughter for marriage. By empowering women through discussion and human rights education, Molly helped revolutionize how Africans viewed their traditions without ever judging or criticizing. Her organization succeeded where many others failed. What touched me the most is how she involved the religious leaders and the village chiefs, the men, to understand the dangers of female genital cutting. Molly understood and saw the African wisdom beneath the uneducated. She trained all her staff to respect the African way so that through dignity, perseverance and patience, the African women took a stand and made the changes that would help all their future generations to triumph. This is an important story because we can all learn from how Molly helped bring about change. This selfless woman dedicated her life to achieve what may have seemed impossible. I was inspired, uplifted and greatly touched by, not just her story, but that of all the African women and men who played a part in shaking their world for the better. A remarkable and unforgettable book—one of the best books I've read this year. Highly recommended.
DebSimon More than 1 year ago
I applaud the grass roots movement Mollie Melching spearheaded which resulted in a social revolution ending female genitalia mutilation in Senegal. However this is not literature but rather a historical script or reference. Mollie's efforts are worthy of top humanitarian recognition and awards, but this book is both poorly written and edited in unending choppy 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person perspectives. I was never swept away or felt transported to the place and time. Mollie's legacy deserves better than this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An amazing, inspiring story of Molly Melching's courageous, fearless and brilliant work. She's our present day heroine!