We've been home from Ethiopia for three months. We were only home two weeks when Ruta began BEGGING to go to school. Even though there were only eight weeks left before the end of Kindgergarten, she started with gusto. Each day she would bound from the car, scream "bye Mommy" and head for the door. My daughter's zeal for education was inspiring. While my niece and nephew were belaboring about the final eight weeks, my Ethiopian princess was in tears the last day of school. It was consistent reassurance that she would indeed go back to classes in August.
My daughter also LOVES movies. She calls them "films". Her favorites include Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and The Princess and the Frog. The common theme in all these movies is there is a princess. And if you call her a princess, she sheepishly turns her head and whispers "thank you". It melts this mama's heart.
This week, I have a very dear friend who is travelling with Children's HopeChest to India. He has seen some devastating things and he has even been inside several brothels. There are a group of people you would not expect to see inside a brothel, children. But my friend Vince says they are everywhere. Some of them are working (a thought which makes me RAGE with righteous anger) and some of them are there to visit their mothers, who are working. When interviewing these women their only hope is that their children gain an education, so that they do not inherit the profession of their mothers.
There are 12 children in the Asha ministry program that are eligible to start school THIS Thursday. There is only one problem: each child needs $407 in order to have a uniform, supplies and tuition paid for the year. When reading through the profiles of the children at Asha, I got lost in the sea of need, until I saw THIS face:
Meet Kushum. She and my daughter are the exact same age. While Ruta is enrolled in kindergarten and will start on August 17th, Kushum lacks 407 miracles to start her new life. Here is how she is described by the staff at Asha:
Kushum has a quiet confidence that does not come from what others think of her or how others react to her. She is perfectly content to stand back and watch things unfold rather than be in the middle of the action. Kushum is a strong student in school and is learning English well for her age. Her stunning beauty, quiet nature, and ability to stop people in their tracks with a single glance from the "stink eye" are all defining qualities of Kushumlatha.
Today I am asking you to stare into her eyes and imagine that it is the eyes of a child you know and if you know me well, imagine it is my Ruta. Would you give Ruta money to go to school? Let's give it to Kushum.
Here's what we want to do. We have two days. While there are several other warrior girls (Amy, Sarah, Brandi, Melanie) advocating for the other children at Asha, Kushum is being advocated for by the Andrews' clan. For every dollar you donate through HopeChest, we'll match it until Kushum's school fee is paid. Simply click here, make your donation (make sure to mark it "india school-kushum" in the notes section) and then leave me a comment on my blog or email me the amount you gave so we can match it. I cannot give $4884.00 dollars, but we can spare $203.50, can you? We may not have a huge spread of food for 4th of July, but knowing that Kushum will have a start on her way out of poverty sure sounds like the definition of Independence Day to me.
Please blog, facebook, tweet and spread the word about this and give Kushum her own princess crown, one of education.