When Molly Melching arrived at the University of Dakar in Senegal to study French literature in the fall of 1974, she planned on staying for only six months. Those six months, however, quickly turned into over thirty years, as she became deeply involved in humanitarian work. She founded Tostan, which means "breakthrough" in Woloff, an organisation determined to empower African communities by educating women about social transformation based on respect for human rights.
HOWEVER LONG THE NIGHT follows Melching's fascinating life helping the women and communities of West Africa. Her groundbreaking strategies have led to more education for the women of Senegal, increased health care, and greater awareness of the danger of female genital cutting-a tradition deeply entrenched within the culture. Melching and Tostan have set a goal of irradicating the process by 2015. Tostan's philosophy is to work within a community, allowing the people to make major changes to their culture of their own volition. Unlike many Western organizations of the past who have tried to transform these cultures from the outside, Melching understands that true change can come from within. In HOWEVER LONG THE NIGHT we see how this attitude empowers the women of West Africa and how Melching's relationship with these women not only brings about new outlooks on life, but also profoundly affects Melching. Alongside Melching's story are the stories of the African women embracing Tostan's vision and breaking down cultural traditions that have been holding them back. The power of their transformative journeys comes alive on the page.
Melching and Tostan are transforming the lives of millions of Africans. This is the story of how true change can start with one woman and how the connections between women can lead to a better world.