Women Across the World promotes awareness and funding for organizations providing girls and women an education in life skills and academics. The first event for Women Across the World was the Ohio River Swim (22 May – 17 July 2010).
During the summer of 2010, Mimi Hughes swam the 981 miles of the Ohio River to raise funds and awareness for organizations that support the life skills and academic education of girls. The swim focused on select organizations from the rural and urban areas of the Ohio River Valley to the remote and fragile environments of the Middle East and Africa that effectively promote education in girls and women. In return, these women and girls will transform themselves, their families and their communities.
Mimi’s previous swims for environmental and social responsibility and to promote peace between nations began with a swim across the Bering Sea to Russia (1997) and continued with the Tennessee River (2004), the Danube River (2006), and the Drava and Mura Rivers (2007). Mimi believes that extraordinary athletic feats can be catalysts for positive change, something she realized when she carried the Olympic torch in the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay.
The Ohio River swim focused on local and global connections through the common needs and aspirations of women and girls in impoverished and war-torn areas. Funds raised were donated to the Central Asia Institute and to organizations chosen by the communities along the Ohio River Valley. Each community designated projects which focused on providing opportunities for women and girls in need locally and nationally, e.g. Strong Women/Strong Girls, Girls on the Run, AAUW, and others.
Rivers connect all of us, threading through local communities and across oceans. Mimi dedicated her energy during the Ohio River swim to telling the stories of the organizations she swam for. By inspiring those who saw her swim and heard her speak, Mimi hopes to spread her vision: Every person has the power to change the world, one stroke at a time.
Mimi Hughes is 55 years old and in her 32nd year of marriage to her supportive husband, Tree Hughes. Together they raised four children who use their education and life experiences to help build strong communities locally and globally. In addition to Mimi’s educational experiences, she believes her athletic endeavors taught her to search for solutions to obstacles, accepting her fear, but not defeat. As a remedial/developmental teacher and professional tutor in the areas of dyslexia and learning strategies, Mimi knows firsthand the transformation that can take place in women and girls when they are given the appropriate educational opportunities, mentoring, and open doors.