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Brick by Brick : Building Hope and Opportunity for Women Survivors Everywhere - Karen Sherman

Brick by Brick

Building Hope and Opportunity for Women Survivors Everywhere

By: Karen Sherman

Paperback | 16 April 2024

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After a twenty-five-year career spent fighting for women's rights around the globe at the expense of time with her family, Karen Sherman looked around and realized she didn't really know her children and felt little connection to her husband. With her world--work, marriage, family--crashing down, she made the rash decision to move to Rwanda with her three sons. While her boys attended the international school, she worked to better the lives of women survivors of war. But as the survivors--Josephine, Ange, Grace, Euphraise, Debora, Yvette, and Teresa--shared their stories of grit and determination, building lives and raising families despite the brutal challenges of war, genocide, and inequality, Karen began to see how her work was connected to the abuse in her own past, and how it was preventing her from becoming the woman she wanted to be. The struggles of these survivors, she realized, were the struggles of women everywhere, regardless of place or circumstance: striving to balance work and family, fighting for real options and choices, trying to make their voices heard. The strength of these women helped Karen find her own way through conflict zones and battles with corrupt politicians. In the end, the journey brings her home to her family and to a renewed commitment to fighting for women around the world to live free from violence and abuse, in peace and with dignity.
Industry Reviews
This engaging memoir skillfully blends three story lines. The primary narrative is an account of the year Sherman, an advocate for women's rights, lived in Rwanda with her three teenage sons. Background material details several women's experiences during the horrific Rwandan ethnic battles of the 1990s, when almost one million Tutsis were murdered by Hutus during a country-wide genocide. The third thread shares Sherman's personal journey as she examines her roles as wife and mother. This approach leads to everyday domestic scenes (misunderstandings about menus and shopping lists) set against testimonials of unimaginable horror (Rwandan women who witnessed their entire families being slaughtered) mingled with parenting milestones (one son's request for advice on French kissing). The three narratives mesh, perhaps because all three include elements of hope and healing. Readers will come away impressed with the resilience of Rwandan women as they strive for financial independence through local initiatives including farming and brick-making. This inspiring account folds in aspects of forgiveness and growth: stepping stones to a brighter future. * Booklist *
A moving, fascinating story filled with emotional highs and lows, adventures and setbacks-and a large dose of wisdom. Every woman will relate to aspects of Brick by Brick and be inspired. -- Melanne Verveer, former United States ambassador for global women's issues
Karen Sherman tells her poignant story of being a mother, a successful leader, and an advocate for women worldwide in Brick by Brick. Her empathy for women who have been victims of violence, abuse, and disempowerment is inspirational, and her story truly has the unique power to connect the stories of women everywhere. -- Joyce Banda, former president of Malawi
Karen Sherman's personal and inspiring account of her family's experience living in Rwanda for a year and the many life lessons that came from her work with women survivors is an easy and compelling read for anyone who strives to be a global citizen-and raise global citizens. -- Lauren Bush Lauren, founder and CEO of FEED
Karen Sherman tells two powerful stories here, both of them straightforward yet affecting: one about her personal struggles in the first world, overlaid on another about women pushed to the brink during the Rwandan genocide. Along the way, it becomes clear that the ability to triumph is rooted in empathy and shared support. In Brick by Brick's overlapping worlds, life lessons are where you find them, and heartrending and heartwarming are never far apart. -- Alan Huffman, author of Mississippi in Africa and Here I Am
Brick by Brick introduces us to the people whose lives form the pieces of the world's most complex development puzzles. Karen Sherman draws upon her encounters with entrepreneurs and activists around the world and shows us the power of women to change their communities and their country. In sharing the stories of these indomitable women, Sherman illuminates their resilience under the most dire circumstances and shares the powerful political and personal lessons that resilience shares. -- Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author of Dressmaker of Khair Khana and Ashley's War
A deeply honest and moving read. Sherman weaves her own search for balance and acceptance with the courageous stories of the women survivors she works with in war-torn countries like Rwanda, South Sudan, and Afghanistan. Finding universal threads of womanhood in their shared experiences, she draws inspiration from their awe-inspiring strength and resilience. -- Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International and author of Freedom Is an Inside Job
As a survivor and advocate for those suffering in neglected parts of the world, I was touched on many levels by Karen's journey. Her grit and courage are a gift to the countless women and girls she's dedicated her life to lifting up. Her fierce personal honesty will inspire all who read this wonderful book. -- Ashley Judd, actor, author, and humanitarian
A journey like no other! With unflinching honesty, badass mom and lifelong women's-rights activist Karen Sherman maps her journey-and the stories of those she's met along the way-through the highest questions of modern womanhood: beauty, regret, connection, sacrifice, survivorship, and choice. From suburban dinner parties to rapid-fire war zones, long since abandoned adolescent memories to the tallest peak in Africa, this page-turner charts emotional landscapes that connect women everywhere. Sure to leave the reader with her own soul-quaking questions and a tidal wave of bravery to face them down. -- Lisa J. Shannon, author of A Thousand Sisters and Mama Koko and the Hundred Gunmen

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