The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

August 24, 2013

Danville native, social entrepreneur subject of book

(Continued)

In 2010, the Foundation announced a publishing partnership with HarperOne of Harper Collins Publishers, featuring social entrepreneurs who are tackling the world’s problems. Melching’s journey was chosen for the first book to appear in the series. The book “However Long the Night” is written by acclaimed author Aimee Molloy.

Molloy visited Senegal several times to visit the places where Molly lived and worked, and interviewed many of the women and men who are featured in the book. Molloy read many reports and letters about Melching and Tostan and had a large amount of material to write the book. It took two years to finish.

When the book was published, Molly was asked to do a promotional to accompany its release. During her two months in the United States and Canada, she visited nine cities and attended many events at bookstores, universities, galas and seminars. The book is now being taught in university classes on women’s studies, international development and human rights.

Danville High School now has a Tostan Club that was started in 2007. The club aims to give students a broader perspective of global issues, and to coordinate fundraisers to support Tostan’s programs in Africa.

The group adopted the village of Demabo in southern Senegal and the villagers completed the three year Tostan education program and ended the practices of female genital cutting and child/forced marriage.

“One of my happiest moments was when I learned that the students at DHS had decided to create a Tostan Club and took a special interest in learning about human rights,” Melching said via email. “It was such an honor for me. My dream is that one day the club members will be able to visit Senegal.”

Ted Houpt, sponsor of the club, asked Melching to come to DHS five years ago to speak when her name was added to the wall of fame.

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