The Power of a GirlHolding her in my arms I began to count her fingers. One, two, three... She gigged as I wiggled each one. I moved to her toes, which hung slightly over the front edge of her shoes. Five, six, seven. She giggled more. Just like me she had ten fingers and ten toes and just like me she couldn't help but erupt with laughter when people touched her feet.
Her name was Amina. At the age of only five she was faced with the threats of famine, disease and child marriage. Her life, and the lives of many of the young girls that played around us, was already determined for her. Without an education she would be sold off as a bride, bear children at a young age and be caught in the cycle of poverty. Yet behind these young girls' eyes I could see strength, intelligence and passion just waiting to be unleashed.
I met Amina while living in Tanzania for three months working as a volunteer journalist for Faces 4 Hope. I experienced many needs in my time there but none as desperate as education. I lived among a community of Maasai people, a culture known for their vibrant jewelry, dance and language. The people were some of the most beautiful I have ever met, yet in their beauty, darkness lurked and oppressed their lives.
In addition to the threat of famine, lack of water and disease, the Massai people are threatened by their low value in education. In the years that Faces 4 Hope has worked in this community, two schools have been built to provide nearby and free education to the Maasai children. The school has brought great success to many young students but there are still many children, especially girls, being held at home unable to pursue an education. Faces 4 Hope has worked with community leaders to help the Maasai learn the value in education and the value of allowing boys and girls to have it.
|Young girls tending to the babies while the mothers look for food and wood - Photo by Join the Lights|
This summer with the help of amazing friends and family I was able to raise the total amount of funds needed to send Amina through her secondary education. Her scholarship for school will lessen her chance of being married off but there are so many other young girls who have no protection at all.
In September, Faces 4 Hope co-founders worked with the Tanzanian government to help bring these girls into the school system so that they may have a chance to decide their own future. The government not only agreed to actively find a solution to help the young girls being kept from education but to also register all of them for school, despite their age, and provide a necessary curriculum to help the students be brought up to grade level.
In order to prepare these girls for the coming school year, Faces 4 Hope has been holding weekly meetings for the young girls to come together and be encouraged. Many had never been told of their value as a human, as a woman and as a child of God. In January these 75 girls will be taking a step into a brighter future that comes from education but they must have somewhere to step.
In wake of the amazing blessing of being able to finally reach these young girls and save them from forced marriage through the opportunity of education Faces 4 Hope needs to construct four new classrooms and one dormitory. In order for these projects to be completed $50,000 still needs to be raised. Even a small donation will make the largest impact for these young girls and the many that will come after them. Please consider donating to this cause, a movement that is alleviating poverty and giving purpose to the next generation.
Faces 4 Hope is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt charity that has no paid staff. Your donation goes directly to the people who need it and creates sustainable change in the lives of those most desperate. To learn more about Faces 4 Hope visit their website, Facebook page and watch the videos below to hear stories from women and children who have been changed through education.
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For My Daughter from Join the Lights on Vimeo.
Faces4Hope Feature from rhys logan on Vimeo.