Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How we can change the world!


There are so many reasons why I volunteer for Children’s HopeChest and spend hours and hours during evenings and weekends coordinating the sponsor program and managing capital projects for Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory CarePoints in Ethiopia.  One of the main reasons is because I believe so strongly in the power of education – I believe it can transform lives and help these kids break free from the grinding poverty that has persisted from generation to generation.


I am especially excited about the opportunity that girls are getting at our CarePoints!  Throughout sub-Sahara Africa, millions of children never get the opportunity to go to school and more than half of those children are girls (some statistics say that number is as high as 70%). 


Ethiopia and other African countries have made significant progress in opening the doors to education for more children by creating government schools with low or no school fees, however the books, supplies, uniforms and testing fees are still too much for some families to afford.   I personally know of many families with multiple children where 2 kids work to earn money for the other 2 kids to attend school for one year.  Then they switch the next year.  They recognize the importance of education and are willing to take twice as long to educate their children.


Many families have to make a choice and can only afford to send one child to school.  In those cases, it is the oldest male child who attends school while the younger siblings stay home.  In many of these situations, girls are needed to help with the household chores which often include walking several miles each day to carry water home to the family.  I regularly see entire groups of girls (not in school) walking for miles to the nearest well with a large yellow jug to bring water home to their families.



Study after study has shown the value of an education for boys and girls alike!  For girls specifically, who are usually left out of the education equation, the statistics are life-changing!  Without an education, girls must rely on others for their basic survival.  They are more susceptible to trafficking, abuse or early marriage (at age 14-15).  HIV rates hit girls the hardest too as 75% of 15-24 year olds living with HIV in sub-Sahara Africa are girls.

Early marriage means more than the fact that a girl is not in school – it means she is likely to be pregnant soon.  For young girls, pregnancy is a leading cause of death.  And IF she survives childbirth, her poor health and likely malnutrition have a direct impact on the health and survival of her child(ren). 

There are countless excellent sources of information about the critical importance of education in developing countries but one of my favorite sources is a site called girleffect.org.  Here are a few facts …

  • Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70% are girls.
  • When a girl in a developing country receives seven or more years of eduation, she marries 4 years later and has 2.2 fewer children.  (As she becomes older, her body is more capable of pregnancy and childbirth and her children will be healthier – higher birth weight.)
  • An extra year of primary school boosts girls’eventual wages by 10-20%.  An extra year of secondary school, 15-25%.

  • When women and girls, earn income, they reinvest 90% of it into their families as compared to 30-40% for a man.  (A mother with an education, makes it a priority to educate her children, boys and girls alike!)

An excellent 2 minute video from girleffect.org ...




At Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory CarePoints in Ethiopia, we now have nearly 300 children enrolled in school who would not normally have the opportunity to go to school!  Exactly 50% of those kids are girls!!!




Here’s how it breaks down at each CarePoint: 
At Kind Hearts, we have 137 kids in the program, 64 are girls ages 4-12 and 73 are boys ages 4-13.  
At Trees of Glory (which is a rural population where girls are less likely to be in school) we have 139 kids in the program, 74 are girls (ages 2-16) and 65 are boys (ages 4-14). 
When you add up the total enrollment, we have a total of 276 kids, 138 girls and 138 boys!  A complete coincidence but an equality that I love to see!

At the moment, we have plenty of room at Trees of Glory to continue expanding our enrollment, but at Kind Hearts our 4 small classrooms are overflowing with nearly 150 kids.  A new school building will enable the CarePoint to expand and double the number of children! 




At Kind Hearts alone, with a new school building, we can expand from 150 to 300 children who will receive nutritious food, clean water, clothing, medical care, EDUCATION and Christian discipleship.

If we can raise the funds for the new school building in the month of July, we still have time to build a new school by September to enroll more kids at the new school year. 
Please consider making a donation to this very critical project. 
Click to the Kind Hearts school donation page at http://donate.hopechest.org/goto/karen.  You can also click to this page to see our progress on the fund.

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