Fighting for a Cause: Education and Gender Violence
When Abigail was six years old, she was left to become a prostitute on the streets of West Point, Liberia to access food and water. A life and education were not an option for Abigail; she was just trying to survive.
Then she met the founder of More Than Me, Katie Meyler, an organization dedicated to getting girls off the streets and into schools. They became friends, and More Than Me raised money to take Abigail off the streets and put her through school. Why am I Abigail? Abigail is part of our community, where we coexist together. Abigail could be anyone we come in contact with on a day-to-day basis. Abigail is the girl passing you on the street, sitting next to you on the subway, driving past you in traffic….Abigail could be anyone. Abigail is everyone. Educating one girl changes everything:
- When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
- An extra year of primary school boosts girls' eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
- When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.
- Check out the girl effect video!
I find this story and organization to be tremendously moving for two reasons: I believe education solves everything and I think gender violence (ie. rape, prostitution, sex trafficking, etc. ) is horrific. Nicholas Kristof just wrote a fantastic article addressing gender violence (Kristof is one of the biggest advocates for human rights abuses and social injustices, such as human trafficking and the Darfur conflict) that reaffirmed my feelings on this subject. In his article he writes:
“Gender violence is one of the world’s most common human rights abuses. Women worldwide ages 15 through 44 are more likely to die or be maimed because of male violence than because of cancer, malaria, war and traffic accidents combined. The World Health Organization has found that domestic and sexual violence affects 30 to 60 percent of women in most countries.”
This is heartbreaking to read and comprehend, but it’s something we should all be aware of so we can support the movement. If you don't have the time or not sure how to get involved in any movement you feel passionate about, try donating money. Donating anything to organizations, such as More Than Me, will make such a difference. I fount this great image on their site...it emphazies how a little money can truly go a long way:
I am completely inspired to make a difference! Be INFORMED, be INVOLVED, be PASSIONATE
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By Lisa Thomson