You might notice a common theme on our blog and social media platforms this month. We are focussing on telling the stories of girls. We want to share the courage, the hope and the strength of girls in Compassion’s programs. The courage, hope and strength which you, as sponsors and supporters, have had a big part in developing.
We recognise that children living in poverty are amongst the most vulnerable people on the planet. Yet we can’t escape the stark reality that in some of the countries where Compassion works, as well as many where we don’t, young girls are the most vulnerable of all.
In June this year, I spoke with a mother in Guatemala, who told me she would never go walking, day or night, with her eight-year-old daughter. Because of the gang culture that is prevalent in her country, she was fearful that her daughter would be kidnapped and a ransom requested for her return. This fear was a constant reality for this mum, who saw her home as more of a fortress than the base from which her family’s daily activities would take place. Simple things like walking to school and playing outside with friends were impossible for her daughter to consider. And this mum and daughter are not alone.
Thousands of girls and women around the world are assaulted, abused, discriminated against, neglected and denied their rights simply because they are female. The good news is that progress in helping girls is being made, through the support of governments, international development organisations such as Compassion, and of course people like you. Women and girls living in poverty have better literacy rates, better access to education, better workforce participation and better political representation than 20 years ago.
I met a very inspiring young woman earlier this year; a former Compassion sponsored child in Rwanda. Christine lost both of her parents in the Rwandan genocide at just four years old. Through support from her sponsor, Christine was assured of food security, educational opportunities and health checks and care, and being linked to a local church where she could discover the hope of the life-changing message of Jesus. She worked hard at school and eventually entered our Leadership Development Program. Today, Christine is a graduate in political science and dreams of becoming the Minister for Human Rights in Rwanda.
I hope you feel as passionate as we do about telling the stories of inspiring girls, like Christine, throughout October. I encourage you to share these stories of courage, hope and strength with your friends and family. Together we are helping give these girls a voice, and helping release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.