It was a huge pleasure for me to finally meet some of the girls in our Blossom Bus project this October 19 after having seen so many pictures and recounted so many of their stories here on GlobalGiving. Our project manager Suraj Kumar asked the girls to gather at the house of one beneficiary, Anjum, so as to avoid the scrutiny and spectacle that staff sometimes encounter when visiting them at school.
Our visit was a big event in the village - seeing westerners in a far corner of Mewat is about as rare as seeing cows wandering freely in the streets of an American city. We gathered with a dozen bus riders in Anjum's back yard, and village boys perched on walls around the courtyard to get a glimpse of what was going on. In contrast, the girls we were there to see were very shy, hiding their smiles behind their scarves. Yet they were clearly excited about our visit, and we told them the same news we are sharing with you below - that their project was selected to participate in the first ever Girl Effect Challenge, hosted by GlobalGiving and the Girl Effect Fund.
Truly, the 140 young women in Mewat who will be riding our Blossom Bus this year ARE the Girl Effect. Most are the first females in their villages to reach grades 9 and 10, and with each new academic year they believe even more that they can, and should, complete yet another. Girls who were slated to marry at age 12 or 13 are now setting their sites on a university education. And we know that regardless of what level they reach, they are now much more likely to see that their children are also properly educated, and to make sure their daughters get the same treatment as their sons.
GUESS WHAT? WE HAVE EXCITING NEWS!
The Blossom Bus has been selected to participate in the first ever Girl Effect Challenge! Through November 15, we are competing with approximately 50 other organizations around the world to become one of six beneficiaries of the Girl Effect Fund, a collective giving pool that has raised nearly $700,000 to date.
By becoming a Girl Effect partner, we will not only receive significant financial support for our Blossom Bus project in 2012, but we will also get critical exposure to Girl Effect fans around the world. Need proof that this will make a difference? The Girl Effect has 17,500 followers on Twitter, 260,000 "likes" on Facebook and nearly 1,000,000 views on YouTube! And it isn't hard to see why the Girl Effect is so popular: watch this video to learn why.
WE CAN’T WIN WITHOUT YOUR HELP
Between now and November 15, our Blossom Bus project must recruit as many unique donors as possible. We are asking all of our supporters to give just $10 during this time period to help us win the competition. Every donation raised during this period will not only bring us one step closer to our dream of partnering with Girl Effect, but will ensure adolescent girls in Mewat, India can safely return to school. By providing bus transportation, we will help many of these girls escape childhood marriage and become the first girls to reach high school in the history of their villages!
You can make your $10 donation today at http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/the-blossom-bus/ (and be sure to check out our new video of the girls!)
HELP US GO GUERRILLA
We know we can do this! You helped Lotus Outreach win a similar challenge in 2009. But we also know how important it is to get our supporters mobilized and engaged. The projects leading the Challenge tend to have the most Facebook shares, so please tell your friends, family and colleagues about this competition on Facebook and ask them to pledge their support. Every donation counts, so please help us spread the word far and wide through email and Twitter as well!
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