But not everyone in the world has these luxuries that we so often take for granted. In many countries, like those in Eastern Africa, young girls live in fear for their lives on a daily basis. Families are often forced to flee their countries due to civil and/or political unrest, riots, and even war. Many young girls get raped, sexually assaulted, and even killed as they seek a better life for themselves while fleeing for the borders of Kenya.
To me, this is a tragedy that needs to be addressed. No woman or girl should suffer from such exploitation. No one should be objectified and treated like a rag-doll that can be abused and tossed aside. Having been a victim of domestic violence in my previous marriage, these types of stories break my heart as well as infuriate me. And I am fairly confident that the Hell I had to live with while married to my ex-husband is nothing like the Hell these women and girls face every single day. For me, I was able to simply find the courage to leave my abuser and start a new, happier life. For the women in Africa, this is often not a simple task. They need help and aid that is not readily available in this part of the world.
That's why I was so moved when I learned about the charitable work being done by the folks at Bright Future International. This is an organization helping underprivileged children achieve a better future by promoting values like compassion, self-esteem, the willingness to help others, and hope. Through partnerships with local and international organizations, BFI is committed to funding social and educational programs for children around the world.
The one that resonated the most with me is the story of Ginet, a young woman in Kenya who was forced to flee Ethiopia at the age of 14. Her life was in danger. She was sleeping on the streets. She was alone, and she was pregnant.
Ginet's story is similar to so many girls in Eastern Africa, who find themselves without support networks and extremely vulnerable to exploitation and abuse after losing their families and having to flee from conflict across the borders into Kenya. In fact, nearly 60% of the girls who enter Heshima Kenya's programs have been raped, sexually assaulted, and forced into marriage.
Heshima Kenya is the first organization in Kenya dedicated to protecting and educating orphaned and separated refugee children and youth, with a special focus on supporting adolescent girls living in Nairobi. Heshima Kenya's shelter, education, and community outreach programming, coupled with the refugee community, empower these girls and young women to live happy and healthy lives.
Ginet is now 17 years old and says,"From the time when I started staying in the Safe House, I have seen many changes in my life. At Heshima Kenya, I believe in my security and potential. Heshima Kenya gave me everything I needed: medical, food, clothes, education, and food and clothes for my baby. Before I didn't believe in anything - now I believe in hope."
There are many, many more people like Ginet that NEED our help. For every donation made to BFI or one of their featured organizations, someone's life will change forever. For those of you who are fellow bloggers, please spread the word! Tweet, share, post away. We have a powerful voice as women, and we can do a lot of good.
To find out how you can help, visit www.BrightFutureInternational.org.
Also, for every "like" on BFI's Facebook Page, $1 will be donated. So please, become a fan and help make a difference in someone's life.
***Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central for Bright Future International. A small donation to Bright Future International was made in my name from Mom Central as a thank-you for participating.***