When my granddaughter was born over thirteen years ago, I wanted to celebrate her birth differently. I wantedher birth to count, in the bigger sense of the word. I wanted to recognise (and for her to recognise, when she was old enough) that we are not all born equal. We are not all born into a loving family with access to everything we could ever need. As she was born on 8th March, which is International Women’s Day, I looked for something that might represent this important celebration.
I looked at various charities and chose Plan International. The organisation strives to promote the rights of children. Their aim is working with vulnerable children and in particular, girls so that they may ‘learn, lead, decide and strive’. Their work encompassed many countries and I chose to sponsor a young baby girl from Peru who was born around the same time. For the purposes of this blog, I’ll call her Mary. The monthly subscription I make doesn’t go to Mary or her family specifically but is used within the community to make improvements for girls in the main but also for the rest of her community.
Mary has a very different life to Caitlin. She lives in a small house with her family and ever increasing number of siblings. Her home has an earth floor and very little privacy for a girl now entering puberty. At one point she was not going to school because she was being bullied. Something that resonates very much with Caitlin. It’s a sad fact that these two girls share this common experience, from different sides of the world.
Mary’s family obviously love her very much and she writes regularly and sends us pictures she has drawn and photo’s of herself and her mum. In return we respond, Caitlin sends her drawings and we learn about and exchange little snippets of our very different cultures.
The subscription for Mary essentially replaces a Christmas present for Caitlin, which I hope will hold more than the three second excitement of tearing the paper from a gift that will be shortly forgotten. And I’m planning that in the next couple of years, we will go and visit Mary, her family and her community. Who knows what friendship might be nurtured from my small attempt to help others who are not so fortunate as I , or my family. Or what difference this tiny act might have for a girl (or girls) in the future, who ever that may be.