Last week I sat on my bedroom floor and cried as I opened my email to find 16 beautiful faces, and 16 heart wrenching stories of the girls we have committed to finding sponsors for.  We heard many similar stories when we visited their homeland of Pokot, Kenya this past July.  Perhaps it shouldn’t take my breath away quite as much as it did--- but, then again, injustice this weighty shoud never cease to take our breath away. 

One of our girls writes, “I am sixteen years old. My Father died when I was in Class Five, and a few months after my Father died, my Mother was inherited by my Father’s brother when it came to the end of the third term.  After a few months, I was forced to be circumcised so that I could be married.  I decided to run away from home.  I went to my uncle’s house where I was treated like I was not related.  When he tried to molest me I ran away and met a lady that took pity on me.  She took me to her home where I was at least better.  I performed well in school, and then the lady died, so all the time I was chased from school because of school fees.  My principal has allowed me at school without fees for that term.

I don’t know where help will come from, but if I lift up my eyes to the heaven for God as the Provider for all the earth.  I promise myself not to give up, even if life becomes more difficult I can persevere and at last I trust that I can conquer and celebrate.”

The stories sound fake sometimes. I think our lives of Starbucks, and running water, weekends full of wine and movies and dinner out must seem false to them as well--- or at least unimaginable.  These stories are real.  Their lives are real.  Polygamy, early marriage, a serious devaluing of girls and women and FGM are very real to the girls of Pokot.

As if teaching these girls that their lives are valuable isn’t enough, Eva Jenker writes, “ when any child fails to acquire the basic skills needed to function as a productive, responsible member of society, society as a whole—not to mention the individual child—loses. The cost of educating children is far outweighed by the cost of not educating them. Adults who lack basic skills have greater difficulty finding well-paying jobs and escaping poverty. Education for girls has particularly striking social benefits: incomes are higher and maternal and infant mortality rates are lower for educated women, who also have more personal freedom in making choices.”

So, what did you spend $1.40 on today?  How about our girls?