It’s no secret that I love Duran Duran, specifically lead singer Simon Le Bon.
But he may have just given me a new reason to love him.
This week, Le Bon said, “In the year which marks the centenary of the Suffragette Movement, I am excited to be a performer at the Twickenham CHIME FOR CHANGE show this Saturday. As a man, raised by a strong, inspirational woman, and the father of three determined daughters, I unreservedly support women’s rights and the drive for equality world wide. So prick up your ears, because Chime is coming to town.”
And the feminist in me tingled.
On Saturday, he performs with Timbaland at a concert in London that benefits Chime for Change, which is touted as a “community of people working to promote Education, Health and Justice for every girl, every woman, everywhere.”
Le Bon and Timbaland are far from being alone in this campaign. Beyonce, Florence + The Machine, John Legend and Madonna plan to perform at the sold-out four-hour concert that 55,000 are expected to attend at Twickenham sports stadium. The concert is underwritten by Gucci so that all proceeds go toward 50 projects that provide education, healthcare and justice for women and girls’ in countries around the world.
While the stars may get the bulk of attention, it’s the project aspect that could change lives.
According to the website, Chime for Change is “the first crowd-funding site where people can make real change happen for girls and women through Catapult. That’s a platform that allows nonprofit organizations to post their projects so that “people can find and fund the issues that speak to them the most.”
For instance, in the United States, funds will help Girl Up host a two-day summit in which girls will learn how to raise funds and awareness and engage their communities. In Malawi, 120 girls will receive secondary education scholarships if the project is fully funded. Fifty Haitian girls could have a safe space to learn and lead in their communities via the Haiti Adolescent Girls Network.
The Haiti project tells the story of Ester, 15, who survived the 2010 earthquake, and “seeks a way to create a better future for herself and her community.” She wants to become a doctor one day. She’s fortunate because she can still attend school unlike many Haitian girls who “lack structured activities, such as school or sports.” In turn, they can become victims of violence, have unplanned pregnancies and contract HIV.
Currently, that project is only 12 percent funded.
Other projects include preventing maternal deaths in Sierra Leone, helping brothers and sisters of sick children in Rio de Janeiro stay in school and giving women in Senegal a chance to use their skills to provide an income for themselves their families and communities.
There’s even a project that supports Wedding Busters, a girl youth movement in Bangladesh. School girls come together if one of their peers is forced by her father to abandon school for marriage to persuade the father to rethink his decision.
Sure, a concert featuring my teen idol is fantastic, but it’s not up to Simon Le Bon or Beyonce to save women around the world. We are living in the age of crowd sourcing where ever single one of us can be a hero to a girl somewhere on Planet Earth.
Suzi Parker is an Arkansas-based political and cultural journalist and author of “Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt” and “1000 Best Bartender’s Recipes.” She writes frequently for Reuters, TakePart, and numerous other publications. Follow her on Twitter at @SuziParker.