United we can do more for girls in Africa
I just spoke with one of my daughters on the phone and she said something and I looked at the photos on my "love wall" in my study. On the wall are photos of students at Camphor Mission school in Liberia and another of three girls about age 8 or 9. In their culture they have been told that their role is to have babies. If a girl's father has not been killed in the rebel war or by AIDS, he is uneducated and works at whatever he can do to earn $2.00 a day to feed his family. Women are not given the right to learn about birth control, so if a girl starts having babies at age 14 or so, she will have about 10 children, if she survives childbirth. The statistics say, that if a girl goes to school until age 14 or so, she won't have that first baby until maybe age 18, so will have many less children. She also will be educated and have some skills, like reading, writing and math, which she may use at a job to earn money.
One of the Staff men at Camphor Mission school told me that if he gets two cups of rice a day, same for his family, he can survive. Rice currently cost about $50.00 for a 100 pound sack and will make about 100 meals (these are facts). His one meal a day cost .50 per serving. If he and his wife have two children, that's the $2.00 a day cost.
In the US girls are encouraged to make something of themselves and plan to support themselves by getting a good education. The same thing SHOULD be true for girls everywhere, don't you think?
I don't want to depress you, but when a Methodist team went to Liberia in 2005, when they were riding in the van one day, they saw a young woman standing on the edge of the road. She was bare from the waist up and had a white stripe painted from the top of her head to her waistline. When asked, the driver told our team member, "Oh, that means that she is for sale. There are too many children in her family and the income her father will get for her, will feed the family for awhile."
Change in the world, including the US, will happen only when the girl child is treated EQUALLY and encouraged to grow and lead.
Here is a photo of one program operating in Liberia, where young mothers from local villages, are taken to Camphor Mission school daily, fed one nuturious meal and taught health, literacy, sewing and other skills, so they can earn money and help support their family. The second photo shows their father, husband, brother, boy friend or whoever was willing to come to school to see what the young women were doing. It is very encouraging to me and Frido Kinkolenge, who runs the program for the Methodist church. More later.