Today was an emotional journey for me, but that’s a story for another day.
Because this story begs to be told. Yesterday.
While I was with my little guy at lunch, I got a phone call from Becca, co-founder of ABAN–the organization in Ghana that transforms litter and changes lives, whom I’m honored to call friend. We talked about their journey and how far they have come and how excited they are with where they are heading. Beautiful. It was wonderful to hear her voice, and I strained to hear every word as I sat in a south Georgia buffet restaurant at the noon hour.
When I got home and took a moment to catch up on Facebook, I saw this video shared by Jamie, The Very Worst Missionary.
In the response to the question, is the “#BringBackOurGirls” helpful, the nun being interviewed, Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, answered yes. We need to shout it. And often.
We need to care. If we can do nothing else, we have to care. And if you don’t, this nun wants to punch you–it’s the most peaceful thing she can come up with. I love her. She’s on my “I want to meet” list. And it’s not as long a list as you might think.
As I pondered the story of the young girls forcefully taken–kidnapped–from their school in Nigeria last month, I thought about the young women of ABAN. These young women, practically still girls, no longer live on the streets. In the words from the ABAN website–they care for the whole person.
ABAN operates a 2-year holistic in-residence program in Ghana, Africa, that transitions young mothers out of poverty and off the streets of the capital, Accra. After a series of interviews, ABAN selects 20 apprentices aged 17-22 who show a strong desire to work hard to change their situation.
The coursework focuses not only on education and vocational skills but also on health and well-being. Our curriculum takes into account each woman’s innate sense of self. We believe that her identity, dignity, and ability are significantly molded by the health of her body, mind and spirit and her experience is guided by these principles.
In addition to taking care of the young women, the program also provides for their children. And it takes care of the environment by upcycling 20,000 water sachets a month.
They are making beautiful things from trash and creating beautiful lives for those that had been left to the streets.
I know it won’t bring our girls back, but supporting ABAN and the work they are doing will protect these girls in Ghana, whose welfare is just as important. It will provide them an education, a place to live, a future. For them and their children. It’s something.
There are several ways to support them. You can shop for gifts or a treat for yourself. It’s the season for wet towels and bathing suits and the like. Their sachet lined bags are perfect for such as that. I love the looks of their new products too, and I know the blessing bags will be perfect for keeping things organized in my tote bag.
Another way to change lives and the environment is to invest in these young women and their futures by making a one-time or monthly donation. As of this afternoon, they still needed nine more sponsors of $150/month to be a part of the Annual Sponsorship program. But even a $10 one-time donation makes a difference–it provides a Sister Scholar with National Health Insurance. Check out more options here.
There are other ways to support them and be a part of the team making a difference in the education of young women in Africa. Like them on Facebook. Sign up for their newsletter. Host an ABAN party for your family and friends. Share their story. None of these cost anything. Tell folks about this program that was started by three college students in 2008 and has grown to include 25 employees, 20 apprentices, and 3 interns on 2 continents. Amazing.
No, supporting this program won’t bring back those precious girls from Nigeria, torn from their families by the dark and evil in this world. It won’t change things for them. I believe, like Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, that we have to care, no matter how far away this might seem to us in this country, and that we have to make our voices heard. #BringBackOurGirls is one way of doing that.
But supporting the life-changing good work of ABAN will change lives. It will help them bring girls and young women out of the horror of life on the streets of Ghana. It will protect them from the evil and darkness that threatens to engulf them. It will be a turning point for their precious little ones–who may never have to remember or know what it is like to live life with uncertainty, without shelter, and filled with physical hunger and emotional needs. And fear.
Because someone cared. Because someone shopped for a gift that changed lives. Because someone gave generously from their heart. Because someone clicked like or forward or told their Mama, sister, uncle, best friend’s cousin’s groomer…..the more we share the story, the more impact it can make. It’s another way of wrapping someone up in our love and offering refuge. Another way to #bethefeather.
Hashtags are cool, and they can inspire change.
But today I’m throwing out the challenge for us all, me included. Let’s go one step further. Let’s do one thing today that can change the world. One child, one young woman, one upcycled piece of litter at a time. Let’s put our actions where our hashtags say we are. The more women and children we share light with, the smaller the darkness in this world becomes.
Love to all.
This was an interesting read here regarding social media and its impact in this situation.
A story I shared last year about ABAN, all they do, and how precious they are to me. Beauty From Trash and Healing Hearts