Run for One - An Update on Amina

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Several months ago I got a crazy idea.

I decided that to celebrate my 25th birthday, I would run 250 miles and attempt to raise $2,500 to send one special little girl in Tanzania to school. Honestly, when I started, I did not feel at all confident that I would reach my goal, but I knew that I had to try.

I chose to do this for Amina, a precious, young Maasai girl who, like many other young girls in her culture, are at great risk of being sold off as a child bride. In Amina's culture, women are not valued and are therefore rarely given the chance to receive any education.

I met Amina while working as a volunteer for Faces4Hope for three months in Tanzania. While I knew about the statistics of child brides and uneducated women, Amina made it real to me. She was at an extreme risk of being kept from an education and sold off at a young age, so when I left Tanzania, I worried every day for her safety and wondered if there was anything I could do to help save her, even from far away.

I knew that Amina would continue to receive a free education from the school founded by Faces4Hope, but in a few years she would start secondary school and need to start paying school fees. This is the time when the future of many girls is lost. Most families can barely afford to feed themselves, which means that school rarely becomes a priority. Selling a daughter to a husband will give them a dowry, so this is what many families do even if the girl is as young as eight years old.

But my thought was, what if they knew that their daughter's future education was already paid for? It would be like a sponsorship in advance that could help prevent a girl from being sold off because there wasn't any other option.

This is how I got the idea for Run for One.

Thanks to the amazing support of family and friends, I was able raise over $2,500. Just that amount of money will put Amina all the way through her secondary education (Like junior high and high school in the US). Because of people's generosity, the future of one little girl has likely been changed forever.

Now that it has been six months since I completed my Run for One campaign, I wanted to give you all an update on precious Amina. Faces4Hope founders were recently back in Tanzania where they were able to report that Amina is happy, healthy and going to school every day.

Amina in her uniform heading home from school

I can't tell you how happy my heart feels when I see these photos. I feel so full of hope when I think about the future ahead of her and I pray that her scholarship will continue to protect her from the dangers of being a woman in her culture. 

Since I left Tanzania in March of 2012, there has been an uprising of desire for education from the Maasai women and girls. Faces4Hope holds weekly meetings for up to 60 young girls who have been kept from their education due to their gender. Faces4Hope is also meeting with parents to share with them the importance of education and why they should release their daughters to school. 

A meeting with the young girls on March 5, 2014

Changes are being made, but there is still much that needs to be done. As more and more girls are being given the chance to go to school, more classrooms are needed. Faces4Hope is working hard to raise the remaining $10,000 needed to finish the new construction. 

So today, in honor of International Women's Day, I invite you to invest in the lives of these young girls by making a donation to Faces4Hope. This organization has no paid staff, meaning that 100% of your donation will support the people and the new developments in Engikaret, Tanzania. 

I wish that each and every one of you could see and feel the beauty of these young girls and experience their passion to be free thinkers and become educated. It is real and it is something that drives me forward every day. 

Donate to Faces4Hope and your donation will do so much more than build the walls of a classroom. It will provide a future for these children and help change the community to one that will value the life, the mind, and the powerful soul of a woman.

Donate Here

"If we are going to see real development in the world then our best investment is in women." - Desmond Tutu. 

Amina at home in her boma. 

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