Reason #12: Children deserve a childhood

When we met Raouda in January 2009 we asked her what she missed about Darfur. She described a small animal that had cotton inside it, a stuffed animal! Something almost every child has connected with at one time or another during their life. Several people sent us animals to give to Raouda and the other children. Today, we were able to give one to Raouda. It was her youngest brother, Mydi, that enjoyed the animal the most. Raouda herself smiled a bit when I gave it to her. She is married now, at age 13, and I fear that between caring for her grandmother, and now her husband she has missed the small joys of childhood, like playing with stuffed animals.

Katie-Jay keeps i-ACT running on several levels. Much of her work entails coordinating partnerships with other grassroots organizations and implementing the campaigns developed by Gabriel and seeing through the details. She graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Sociology and a focus on Community Development. She has previously worked as a community organizer in Thailand, Guatemala, and with grassroots organizations across the United States.

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Category: Day 3: December 11 · Tags: ,

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4 Responses to “Reason #12: Children deserve a childhood”
  1. Sandra Hammel says:

    I don’t understand. Married at 13? When I read your post here and came to those few words…I was a bit frozen. I feel stunned.

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Yes, Sandra, me too. It’s a way of life here, and I think especially for those who don’t have enough to feed and care for everyone in the family. We did see a bit of smiling from Rouda in the last few days and I think she is happy to be part of the Sister Schools Program. I hope it will keep her going to school.

  2. Well, I will keep hoping her life will improve. But this is just not right. Of course, for me those that I included in my event, for example Raouda, are special to me.

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Hi Sandra,

      I know the feeling. Rouda most definitely has a very special place in my heart and I was so sad to hear that she had been given away for marriage. It makes me want to work harder for the rights of these young women. In the camp we are in now we have had several discussions about women and their rights. There are only 4 female teachers in the whole camp. When I asked Zara about it today, a 19 year old teacher, she said that slower the community–husbands, fathers, and leaders–are realizing how important educating the girls is. There are many in the lower levels and we hope to support an education system that retains them through secondary school. This will help with future situations such as Rouda’s.

      hug, ktj

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