No Ordinary Love Ministries is just one of the reasons we love returning to Ethiopia over and over again . To see children removed from the horrors of the world, restored through intense counseling and education and eventually returned to their families whenever possible, is truly the best way to protect and serve children in Ethiopia. During the team trip last February @Angela Wu was able to capture this beautiful story of a child returned back to the life of being a child.
Everything about her is changing. Like the newly emerging flowers and budding trees ready to burst this spring, she is beginning to blossom into a little lady. We can see it as she searches for independence and boldly professes her ideas and opinions. It’s a miracle to watch happen right before our eyes.
Today she turns seven and marks for us all a new season, a fresh start if you will. I think it’s what I love about birthdays. It’s a day to reset, reflect, to explore and dream of what is next. Tonight we will celebrate the gift that this child is not only to our family but to all who know her. We’ll celebrate her birthplace and pray for the woman who gave her life in spite of harsh circumstances. We will embrace all the changes we see on her horizon and discuss the ways we see God working in and through her little life.
With spring sports and two of our kids in lead roles in a musical (Footloose) opening next week we have been a tad busy and frankly planning a bday bash fell off the radar. When we finally dug in she insisted all the girls she knows be invited. She is a wee bit social so you can imagine the list. We love hosting birthday parties but all those gifts? We have grown to wish birthdays could be less of a lavish affair. “Ava for your birthday what if we shared the story of the Chapa children who need sponsors in order to grow up strong and educated just like you?” I said, thinking aloud. ” We could ask friends to consider sponsoring a child from Chapa or making a donation toward new uniforms or shoes instead of gifting something to you.” Ava did not hesitate.
So this weekend when we host our two hour basement dance party birthday bash we have asked that kids (parents… thank you) do not bring a gift. Instead we are spreading the word about these 17 children of Chapa, Ethiopia who long to be part of our sponsorship program.
The children of Chapa long to have someone walk alongside them. To bless them with letters, prayers and loving support. We are asking you consider giving to them in honor of Ava. Give to them in honor of your own child and the growth you see as you are watching them bloom this spring season.
Peace on the journey,
There is no talk of menstrual cycles or the glorious wonder of a women’s body as the giver of life. There is no understanding of what to do when a young lady begins menstruating and many girls suffer in silence and despair missing up to a week of life’s opportunities every month. That is three months of life a year.
No wonder the room of young girls sat wide-eyed as we unpacked supplies and began educating them with simple drawings on the blackboard.
They are young yet old enough to be curious about the changes happening to their maturing bodies, and for many they are statistically speaking already experiencing exploitation or gestures of sex in exchange for hygiene materials or permission to remain in school while menstruating. According to the World Health Organization as many as 74% of African girls are exploited by the age of 12 and many are “taken” to become child brides before their 14th birthday. Educationin remote areas in non-existent and so are the solutions to the problem of girls missing out on education and opportunities and eventually work days when they become young ladies. The Chapa Village is no exception. Until we were granted permission to begin educating women and girls, there was no hygiene or health training, no safe menstrual supplies and no unity among the women of dignity and strength surrounding menstruation. At the Begin With One Chapa Community Carepoint we are working to change silence and provide women with deserved dignity and hope. Through our Woven Dignity education and the delivery of hand-made menstrual kits we are seeing tremendous change and we know from the feedback of the girls that they are less likely to avoid school or drop out of school altogether due to infection and or lack of proper menstrual supplies.
This year we were able to bring 75 reusable/washable menstrual kits to the women and girls of Chapa and each person who received a kit was trained on her body, what a menstrual cycle is and how to properly use the kits.
A heartfelt thank you to Board Member, Kristi Herstein and her daughter Hannah for serving the women of Chapa so well through excellent hands on education. What an honor it was to see the women and girls leaving the Chapa Carepoint clinging to the small token of love, education and restored dignity wrapped in a brightly colored cloth bag. Thank you to the many hands who generously donated materials, sewed pads and bags and to those who prayed for our journey to empower the women we have grown to love in Chapa. We look forward to next steps and we are dreaming big about teaching the women to teach other women not only about their health but also about how kits can be made.
To learn more about ways to get involved in empowering women visit: www.daysforgirls.org and take a look at this startling video: