I am very excited about tomorrow. Tomorrow I am taking seven very special young ladies out for a well-earned dinner celebration. Let me tell you why I am so proud of them.
It all started six years ago, when I got to know Angela and her 4 sisters. Then just about to finish primary school, the girls longed to have the chance to go to Secondary School, but did not think it would be posible for their single, very por mother to send them. So they started sewing simple felt crafts, which I bought from them to sell in the UK. This regular income, which we have kept going for six years now, has enabled Angela and Roxana to graduate from Secondary School this month. Angela wants to find a job in the day and study University to be a nurse in the evenings. Roxana´s ambition is to be a bank teller. For girls who live in a hovel in the countryside these achievements will transform their lives – and that of their mother who has slaved to provide for them for so many years.
Tania came to me to ask to join the sewing group in order to be able to go to Secondary School when she was 13 and had already missed a year at school. Her father had cancer and they had big debts in the hospital. He allowed her to study because he was afraid she might never find a husband as fungal infections prevent her from washing clothes and dishes. She is now looking for a full time job in town, and her niece Diana who has also sewn to go to school wants to apply to be a policewoman. These young women will no longer be trapped by poverty and joblessness. They now have ambitions in life and the means to achieve them.
Yadira was one of the first children we found a sponsor for. Her sponsor has supported her all the way through Secondary School, and she is thrilled to be graduating. Yadira has blossomed from a shy retiring lassie into a confident young woman, ready to take on the world and make something of herself. It is such a joy to have witnessed this transformation.
Gabriela has a quadriplegic father and lives in a remote village. She has also had a sponsor who has paid for her to study by distance learning. She is graduating in social studies and wants to go on to study agriculture at University. With her love of flowers and plants it is something she is well suited to.
Jenny has made jewellery to pay her way through school. She is a whizz at coming up with beautiful designs. She has graduated in accounting and already has a part time job book-keeping. She is sitting the tests for university entry which she wants to study in the evenings.
When we go out for the meal I am going to present each of the girls with a Bible as a graduation gift. I hope they will develop Godly wisdom in addition to their technical knowledge. I am going to ask one thing of them – not that they pay me or their sponsors back for the help they have received – but rather that they pay this help forward. I hope they will always carry in their hearts the will to take care of their families and parents, and as they are able others in need who cross their paths.