We were able to visit a school a couple weeks ago where all the children are orphans. There were sixty-five girls that were of the age of puberty. We went to educate them about their changing bodies and give them the supplies they need. While we were having tea with their headmaster/Pastor we could hear them rejoicing and singing to Jesus. The spirit there was so heavy there.
There were so many smiling faces but some very sad stories before they had come there. One young girl had been raped by her father when she was seven yet she would still go to his grave and cry. One girl had been there for a couple years because her mother had just left her in front of a store. It was heartbreaking to hear their stories. All but four live in a very small dormitory. And this wasn’t all the girls that live there. Schools are slowly starting back so we will be going back soon to visit another grade when they come back.
We always start with a message for them to let them know they are special and God has made them just the way He wanted them, and has a plan for each of them. We encourage them to stay in school and get an education. We don’t record the reproductive educational part because we want it to be private so they won’t be scared or embarrassed to ask personal questions. And we don’t allow any boys – even Pastor Emerson!
Their headmaster is a wonderful man of God who is doing all he can with very little to care for all these teenagers, both girls and boys. The day I told him about our Hope for Girls I could just see a burden lifted. He told me just the day before one of the girls that live there had asked him for pads. She had been using old dirty cloth. How embarrassing for both of them. He said sometimes he has to make hard choices – food or pads. We feel so blessed we were able to go and talk with these girls and just love on them. Imagine what impact just $10 dollars and showing the love of Jesus does for these girls to not bear the shame and embarrassment and are able to stay in school.
The school is what we would call high school, they call secondary, but because some of the people in their village have heard he has taken in orphans there have been four little ones left there. One lady just left her baby at the door when no one was in the office because she had dropped the baby on his head. One mother left her little boy because she felt he had a big head, another because the child has a club foot. These children are considered a curse. So Pastor pays what little he can raise to a widow to take care of these children, they are not old enough to go to primary school yet.
It was very hard for me to leave this cutie. He was the one abandoned because his head was a little large. He is about three and doesn’t talk but they say he is quite the handful! I don’t understand how anyone could leave that cuteness!
This week we were able to visit one of the largest government schools in our village. Going in to it I did not know this. There was a big miscommunication and I was given the number of girls as ninety. Salima and I took one hundred kits “just in case”.
They called the girls to come and they came. And kept coming. I start sweating it! After we were all in this thirteen by fifteen foot room we counted 260 girls! I had to run to the car and tell Christian to go to the house and get all the rest that we had!
It is amazing what God does with us. How we are welcomed into what is mostly Muslim students and teachers, the school is right on the grounds with the large mosque. But they welcomed us and were not offended when I gave them the message that Jesus loves them and God has made us just the way He wants us. After I gave them a talk about how they are “wonderfully and fearfully made” we educated them about menstruation. They asked very good questions and were free about talking about things they’ve faced. Shame, fear, terror when they didn’t know what was happening to their bodies. Jenifer threatened them beforehand that this was a safe place and no one should leave that room gossiping about anyone else so I think that gave them the feeling of freedom to talk. We also talk a little about boys (pretty much stay away from them!), safety and self-defense. Salima is so helpful as she is an example of what staying in school and hard work can accomplish. She encouraged them to not focus on boys and sex but in getting an education that will enable them to have a better life.
It was a huge blessing to be there and give out the kits. And as always the boys were fussing that they had been left out of something so we gave the school two soccer balls for them. That appeased them!
We are so thankful we are given these opportunities with open arms and the teachers tell us so many times how appreciative they are for the education part. I gave the head teacher our flip chart so that she and the other female teachers can educate the girls further.
Thank you to all who have donated time and money to help us keep girls in school. A big thanks to ladies in Leesville/Anacoco, Louisiana for their contribution that allowed me to have the extras we needed with that large group because of course the teachers also asked for kits!
We now have two seamstresses that are busy each month making more kits! They are so happy to be receiving a good income every month!
If you feel led to help us help young women stay in school, learn how to defend themselves (which is really important here also) there can never be too many kits. 100% of your donation goes to the kits and to the seamstresses that make them go to https://themandate.com/campaigns/hope-for-girls/
And a great big I love you to Raelee who was my photographer for the day! She has a natural talent and I have been encouraging her as much as possible. She has moved up to an intermediate Nikon camera but still gets reigned in for too many selfies and pics of her kitten! She really stepped out of her comfort zone for this one – that many people makes her (and I!) very nervous but I had coached her beforehand of the specific pics I wanted her to make sure she got. She nailed it!
This Valentines day please give a gift of love to help girls stay in school, build self-esteem and stay safe. Too many drop out of school, sell their bodies for pads or get married just to get the things they need to stay in school.
This week my goal is to raise $5000 so that we can get kits to 500 girls in our community this term of the new school year. 100% of the money given goes to the project. We have one of our girls graduating tailoring school and she will be sewing kits to earn her own sewing machine.
Many times we donate money to causes and never really know where it goes. All money that is donated to themandate.com is used for projects. By clicking on the link below your money will go directly to this project. You don’t have to donate the $10 for a kit, anything you can give helps.
When we bless others we get even greater blessings back. And I wish all that support us could see the girls faces when they receive the kits.
This year besides the kits and education we give about menstrual health we are adding a self defense class.
Please give the love that leads to hope for these girls! Click the heart below to give! And thank you so much for your love!