On both my recent trips with Compassion International, I was excited to see young girls being empowered. Children who live in extreme poverty are at high risk of exploitation, and all over the world, traffickers prey on the most vulnerable populations in order to get “product”. Parents who live in extreme poverty will sometimes sell a girl to support their family. Often a trafficker will trick a family into believing their child will have some amazing opportunity in modeling or schooling. Last year, while traveling with Shared Hope in India, I visited a rescue project for women who had been sold into slavery at young ages. Over and over I heard heartbreaking stories of girls loosing their childhood in exchange for a life in a brothel. As I said in my blog, “Mothers and Fathers Protecting your Daughters”, these stories will haunt me forever.
On both my recent trips with Compassion, I asked the staff if this was a problem in the communities they work in. They definitely said that girls were at risk, especially in the rural areas. They said that part of the Compassion curriculum is to teach girls how to protect themselves and to recognize traffickers. One project we visited taught the girls Martial Arts (there you go Hailey and Janet), so the girls would be able to protect themselves. The staff at the project said the boys are all afraid of the girls because of what they can do. Go Girls!
In the Maasai tribe in Kenya, trafficking isn’t necessarily the problem, but child brides are popular. Some families will marry off their young daughters (11 years old) to older men in exchange for a dowry such as a cow or goat. Compassion built a girls school in the middle of the Maasai area we visited. It’s a residential school and because of this school, many of the Maasai have been sending their girls to school rather than to marriage. Child brides are becoming less of the norm and the families feel social pressure to send their girls to the school. If you have ever read about the Maasai you know there are other traditions that harm young girls. I am happy to report that within the communities that Compassion has projects, mutilation is no longer taking place and girls are being educated and empowered. Christ is changing these communities; however, the beauty of this culture is being preserved.
We sponsor 4 Compassion girls across the world. Remya is 14, Hannah is 12, Marielba is 11 and Kristy is 10. We have one little boy, Yeremy, for Stephen so that he would have a little testosterone bonding.
It’s my heart to protect these girls and to help them see their beauty and their value to God! I wish I could do more to protect little girls around the world but I am happy to be able to help these four girls. It’s one more reason to sponsor a child with Compassion International.
Life, Family, Faith and Travel...the life of a Jones
Dominican Republic Missions trip
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