October 11 2012 is an important day. It marks the first annual International Day of the Girl. Martha and I want to use this day as an opportunity to advocate for girls in Haiti and celebrate the successes that we are seeing in Haiti with our organization, World Concern.
It is becoming clear globally as well as in Haiti, that empowering girls and providing them with resources to succeed is vital in the long term development of communities and the country as a whole.
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen recently said, “Countries that have expanded opportunities for women and girls in education and work in recent decades have largely achieved greater prosperity and moderated population growth while limiting child mortality and achieving social progress for all…There is an overwhelming need to pay attention to the needs of girls and women.”
As Mr. Sen indicates, increasing opportunities to education for girls is an important way we can work to improve the rights of women and girls. In Haiti specifically, this is a big need. According to the United Nations Human Development Report for 2011, only 22.5% of women in Haiti have at least a secondary education.
This is exactly why World Concern is working towards educating girls in Haiti and providing them with opportunities to succeed. World Concern is an organization that believes children are the hope for the future. As with other program areas, our work in education is focused on meeting the needs of the most vulnerable. This makes me excited and is one reason (of many) that I am pleased to be a part of this organization!
In June I had the opportunity to meet Kethia. This young girl had a calm demeanor but her smile radiated a lot of energy and joy. She is a sixth grader and a part of World Concern’s Hope to Kids program in southern Haiti. This program provides students in rural Haiti with a goat, which they take home and help raise. For Kethia, the goat is much more than a pet; it is her future!
“When my goat had kids, I was able to sell the kids to pay for school,” Kethia explained.
Education is empowering Kethia and providing her with the knowledge she needs to have a bright future.
If poverty is to be overcome, if communities are to be renewed, and if transformation is to occur, girls must be protected, equipped, and engaged. There is certainly no silver bullet in doing such things. However education is one area that can make a difference in the lives of girls.
This week, to celebrate the first annual International Day of the Girl, I want to ask you to remember in your prayers Kethia and other girls like her in Haiti. These are precious young women that like young women everywhere, have dreams of a full and abundant life. There remain many challenges for girls in Haiti, specifically in regards to opportunities for continued education, however I hope you are encouraged by the small successes we are seeing.
Martha and I see ourselves as advocates for Haiti. We care about this place and its’ people deeply. Our desire is to communicate stories of hope and transformation that give a just and accurate picture of life in Haiti. There is so much more to this country than what you see on television. Thank you for your partnership in telling Kethia’s story to people all over the world. Martha and I are able and willing to serve but we realize nothing could happen without the support of people like you. If you have not joined our support team and are interested in helping us serve the most vulnerable in Haiti, I would encourage you to consider becoming a monthly partner. This is an investment that you will not regret!