Dear Friends,

It has been an awesome year for COME UNITY . Two 6k races, one dance event, volleyball and sailing fundraisers, one team trip to Africa and to date 5 clean water projects around the world, 15 sponsor girls, 9 cows, sustainability projects and much more. In the works are a clean water project in Sheda, Ethiopia--- and the reason I write you today: Pokot, Kenya.

The Principal at Alale Primary School in Pokot told us, “the 7th and 8th grade girls are most vulnerable. Their fathers will sell them for a dowry to a husband--- and the husbands sometimes come to our school and take their new wives away.” Can you imagine? Their fathers are paid a dowry of one beer or one goat. Young girls are often married to a much older man who has more than one wife. They bear lots of children; they are not valued at all. As I sat on my bedroom floor a few weeks ago and read about sixteen Pokot girls we have promised to sponsor, these unfathomable stories again broke my heart.

One of our new Sponsor 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.”

Sponsorship facts:

       -1/4 of all girls in developing countries are not in school

-Educated girls have fewer, healthier children that are 40% more likely to live past the age of five.

-Every extra year girls spend in primary school boosts their eventual wages by 15-20%; in secondary school, 20-25%.

-In Pokot, girls already in sponsorship programs have had parents come to their schools offering meager funds towards their girls’ education, as if they now see value in her education since someone else does.

Maureen has been sponsoring a COME UNITY Sponsorship girl for a year and a half. She writes, “For years I had thought about sponsoring a child somewhere in the world. The ads and opportunities are everywhere. But something inside me didn't feel compelled enough to actually take the step and participate. Programs always seemed distant and run by corporations I knew little about. When COME UNITY announced their sponsorship program though, I knew this was what I had been waiting for. I had heard of the town the girls were from, knew people who had been there. For some reason, the picture of my future girl, Ruth, seemed like more than just one of the pictures I had seen so many times. The results so far have proven that I made the right decision. I have had the chance to write Ruth letters, and I have received letters back from her. Ones not sent through a system from an unnamed source who told her to write them, but ones hand delivered by friends of mine. They have returned with stories of meeting her and I find myself believing that is possible that one day I too will get to meet her. More important than the personal interaction and just KNOWING that she gets to go to school and build a future has been the words she has shared with me in her letters. To read a handwritten letter by a young girl who lives in a family that has been devastated by poverty, but now has a small glimpse of hope is amazing. To know that I have been allowed to be the one who can offer that hope to her is something that brings great joy to my life.

I am not someone who stops and buys coffee every day so when someone says the number 500 dollars a year, that seems like a lot. It does seem like an actual sacrifice. There is definitely something I won't buy this year because that money went towards Ruth. But the benefit of giving my money to Ruth instead of whatever I now will not purchase far outweighs the benefits of my purchase. The ability to offer a bright future to someone who might have been heading to a rather dim one is certainly worth the sacrifice.”

To Sponsor a girl:

- We ask one year of sponsorship at $1.40/day or $500/year

- Your contribution funds her education, uniform, room and board, food and routine visits by our international partners

- Pay monthly, quarterly or yearly

- Writing your girl and receive letters from her twice per year

It is our goal to find sponsors for all 16 girls by January 1st, 2012. $1.40 a day isn’t much to us. It is the world to her. Please consider giving! If you’d like to ‘give’ sponsorship as a Christmas gift, we can help you make cards that give one month of education ($42) in the name of your brothers and sisters, and cousins and parents, as you wish.

Please email Ashley for more info: