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Beautiful Girl

Beautiful Girl

Beautiful girl. She is alone in the world. No family. No worth. No belonging.

At 13, she has all insecurities and no self-love.
Standing in front of a cracked mirror
She mocks her nappy hair and rounded face.
She longs for the shiny ‘white’ hair she sees in American magazines and music videos
She cannot understand.

At 14, she is acting out.
In school, she misbehaves. From stores, she steals.
She is afraid. That no one will ever love her.
The orphanage caretakers are not her mother. Her mother, she does not know.

At 15, she reaches out for love and finds it in an 18-year-old hustler.
No home. No education. No money. But good lovin’, he’s got plenty.
It’s a blistering Brazilian evening when they consummate this “love”.
At 15, she is pregnant and no longer alone.

At 16, she is left to her own devices. This time, baby on board.
No more school. No more orphanage. No more carefree loving. Only responsibility.
Baby’s daddy comes around now and again. When he’s not using or dealing.
Looking into the eyes of baby, baby looks back at beautiful girl and smiles.

Both unaware of the strength and courage they give each other.

* This poem is lovingly dedicated to Jessica Pereira da Silva of Salvador, Brazil.


jap21's picture

Beautiful girl

What a crude reality, Jackie. The worst that happens to us is that we know about it, we feel bad, but we do nothing
to solve that. I believe that not one single leaf in a tree moves without the consent of the whole tree. So I think that the whole global society is acting in a way that allows for this to happen.

For this reason, I think all of us should feel responsible for this situation. And all of our talking and acting should aim to make the world a friendlier place to young girls all over the globe.

Warm regards,


Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America

phylis's picture

Beautiful girl

This is so sad. what young girls undergo out here is so traumatizing. The beautiful girl is a baby herself and now she is a mother. no home, no family and the burden of taking care of an innocent child who was fathered by a dad who does not even care. She herself cannot even manage to care about herself. What is the best she can give this baby and how will the baby turn out to be if he/she survives. At 16 this girl should be leading a normal teenagers life. School, parties and under her parents care and love.

l think it is high time we did something to stop this. Tell me what would stop the girl from even thinking of prostituting in order to raise her baby and herself. And in this era of AIDS how far will she go. Men should start being responsible and think of the women in their lives. if this was your daughter and you died today would u be happy to see her suffering this way and even go ahead and take advantage of her instead of helping her.

l think something should be done to our baby girls or else we will actually not have a future in the next few years. Girl education should be emphasized and projects to help girl child especially the orphaned ones should be put in place the soonest. This is a very vulnerable group we are talking about. The sooner we act the better for us. These are our daughters.

Cultural Correspondent's picture

Personal Ties


Thank you so much for your comments. Sad and traumatizing is right. And if there is something tangible we could do for each and every last one of these girls, I would love to be signed up for it!

The truth is, I know this little girl and the reality that she lives. I met her in an orphanage when she was 13, and have been writing to her ever since; now she is in an institution (but won't be for much longer), and then she will be out on the streets.

It is actually "easier" for girls who are helped by organizations that deal specifically with these issues. For this young woman, there is no organized help for her. When I asked the Sister at the convent what I might do to assist, financially or otherwise, the response was not an optimistic one.

What do you do in a situation like this? How do you help a young mother, living in a developing world, who has no education, no bank account, and no source of income? If I sent her some money to get her footing, where would this money go? Where would she put it? Would it go directly into the hands of her drug dealing/using boyfriend? I would like to think otherwise, but I think we all know the answer here.

So, I am torn. Because, one day soon, this young girl will become an adult woman (in one sense, this transition has already taken place), and she will likely disappear from my radar. And thus the cycle continues, does it not?

How do we nip a situation like this in the bud? Education, prevention, protection. But who will fund this? A group of politicians more interested in satisfying their own expensive lifestyles than meeting the needs of their public? The parents of these children (assuming they even have parents) who are living day-to-day and paycheck-to-paycheck themselves? Those individuals living in the developed world who sponsor a child once a month? It's not just a problem, it's a hands-down world epidemic.

Last year, I assembled a proposal for a project that deals specifically with girls' education and transferable skill-building. I solicited many companies, organizations, and funding programs, and little interest was shown. Really, I shouldn't have been all too surprised. If you -- or anyone else -- would like to see this proposal, let me know.





Jackie that piece was lovely and real. It actually expressed what many teenage girls go through - insecurity.
After they fall prey to pregnancy and give birth most of them become limited with no futher prospects.
It is my fervent wish that the hope of such girls could be restored. Only from their self determination can they equally be able to break through this glass ceiling by to be empowered.

Wish you all the Best,


efe's picture

teen trouble

the teenage years are one of so much insecurity .From one extreme to the other.We are all devastated at the killing of a number of young people in a German highschool by a teenage boy.Let us always be good role models to teenagers anytime we find ourselves in their midst. We just might make a difference (or even save a life or two)

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