Anyone who has participated in a project like this knows that there are no words to describe the experience. It literally changed my view of the world, and someday I hope my kids get the chance to see what I saw and feel what I felt. We think we know what poverty is here in the U.S., but the truth is that even the poorest of the poor in our country would be considered well off in most 3rd world countries. It's beyond comprehension. And the worst part of the whole thing is that young girls and women are often times the ones who pay the price. Just to give you an idea of what I mean, read the following facts:
-In Afghanistan and other counties women and girls who are raped are blamed.
-Women who are victims of rape are jailed, stoned and/or required to marry their attackers.
-Girls are given as toys to sexual predators or traded like cattle to settle debts.
-In the Congo and many other countries, hundreds of thousands of women are raped each year with no attempt to bring the attackers to justice.
-In Mozambique and other African countries, many superstitions are perpetrated such as “sex with a virgin will cure AIDS, women should never refuse sex with their husbands, even if their husbands have AIDS, and AIDS is caused by poor hygiene.”
-Far more women and girls are shipped into brothels each year than African slaves were shipped to plantations in the 18th century.
-In Third World Countries over 50% of girls marry before age 18. In Afghanistan 50% of girls are made to marry before 15.
-Women have a 1 in 10 chance of dying in childbirth in Afghanistan.
-Women under 15 are 5 times more likely to die in childbirth because their pelvises aren’t formed.-MORE WOMEN DIE IN CHILDBIRTH EACH YEAR THAN PEOPLE DIE IN WAR.
...and these are just a few.
I know that these kinds of problems can seem very foreign to us as women in the USA, but they are real.
My family has always been quite involved in humanitarian efforts around the world, my parents specifically. They have done some amazing work, although they wouldn't tell you that. Seriously, my mom and dad would take in every poverty stricken child in the entire world if they could (every time they come home from a trip to a 3rd world country, I half expect my mom to pull a few toddlers out of her suitcase). They have incredibly big hearts and I'm honored to know them let alone be their daughter. Sappy but true. They are good good folks. So it should come as no surprise that they have put together an awesome fundraiser that will take place this weekend. This is the letter that has been sent around.
Dear family and friends,
As you may already know, we are working with an amazing organization, NO POOR AMONG US, the objective of which is to help teenage girls in Mozambique go to school instead of becoming prostitutes and/or child brides with all the lifelong health, economic, and psychological problems these conditions entail. Mozambique is one of the poorest countries on the planet, and we've found this to be a very efficient way to alleviate some of the heart-wrenching problems young girls face in this one small corner of the world. We are also in the process of building a library which will double as a women's center at night. Previously, the students have had NO books! Because NPAU is a local, well-run organization with virtually no overhead, ALL donations can go directly to this wonderful and worthy cause.We will be having a Boutique/Jewelry Sale at our home on Friday, November 30th and Saturday December 1st to raise money for school uniforms and library books. There will be beautiful one-of-a-kind jewelry (designed and made by Charlotte Hamblin) available for purchase, as well as personal care products, and unique Christmas gifts. One hundred per cent of the funds raised will go directly to the girls in Mozambique and, in addition, provide work for seamstresses employed making uniforms. Please see the attachment for more details. We hope you'll have time to stop by our home. Bruce and I will be traveling to Maputo with our good friends and founders of NPAU, David and Charlotte Hamblin, in January to personally supervise the handing out of uniforms and to celebrate the completion of the library.
If you are looking for a good charity even to get involved with this holiday season, this is a good one. It's such a great cause. If you live close to Salt Lake City, come out on Friday or Saturday to 7825 Pheasant Wood Drive in Sandy UT and pick up some great Christmas gifts. I just so happen to have made most of the little girls jewelry (and some of the women's jewelry) that will be sold and let me tell you, it's freaking adorable!!!!
Here's a preview...