If you really want to change a culture, to empower women, improve basic hygiene and health care, and fight high rates of infant mortality, the answer is to educate girls.” – Greg Mortenson-Better Schools
It has been shown that an educated girl will invest 90% of her future income in her family, compared to 35% for a boy. Yet 250 million adolescent girls live in poverty and are more likely than boys to be uneducated, married at a young age, and exposed to HIV/AIDS. (The Girl Effect)
Here at ZIon Project we believe that if you change a girl's life, you can change a nation. One of the most powerful ways to do that is to make sure that girls who would normally not have access to education receive a quality education and the support to do well in school. This year all 16 of our beautiful girls rescued from lives of child prostitution, forced labor, and slavery, have started attending new schools which are the best in Gulu, Uganda. Not only that, but because they live in a loving home they get help with their homework, and mentoring for their futures.
Amazingly enough, many adolescent girls stop attending school when they reach puberty because they cannot afford sanitary pads. Our girls never have to worry about that because they receive all they need for a healthy life. One of our girls says, "I am happy to be at Zion because I am now safe. I love my school and someday I want to be on the radio."
Last week we also had the privilege to attend a Sports Day at our children's new school and it was so much fun to watch them glowing with excitement as their self-esteem expands with the knowledge that they actually can succeed! In February, we also ensured through our Imani economic empowerment program for women, that their children would now be able to attend school because of the income they earn. That's another 30 children receiving an education through our programs.
Saving LivesBecause we have relationships with all our women in Imani, we care about all the issues in their life. Last month we had a mother with a very sick baby who we took to the doctor and was hospitalized for over a week due to a bacterial infection turned septic. The doctor told us if the mother had waited a few more days, the baby would have died. Thankfully, through our medical care, the baby is now doing fine and smiling again. The mother testifies, "I thank God for Zion Project because without them my baby would not be alive."
All our Imani women are now receiving medical benefits which allow them to take care of their sick children. In Uganda the number 1 and 2 killers of children is malaria and pneumonia. Through our medical care we can now be sure these children will not die from preventable diseases.
There is still so much more to do and so many more girls and women's lives to impact. Just last week I spoke to a little girl who has been orphaned and was strangled by a step-mother. There are so many more like her who need our help.
Thank you for supporting us to reach out and change lives to transform a nation.
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