As 2010 winds down, and we get all sorts of reflective and mushy about what we’d like to do differently in 2011, I want to toss an idea at you for pondering. In March of this year, I began to sponsor a little girl in the Democratic Republic of Congo [photo credit]. Some of the most heinous atrocities against women and children in the world take place in DRC. The stories of rape that I have read so much of in the New York Times and other outlets, have long made me feel so angry but so helpless. Through a well-known, established and trusted Christian organization, World Vision, I chose a little girl named Cleve. She is 5 and can’t read yet, but my monthly support will keep her in school where she can be educated, and therefore, have a chance to make it out of DRC. I have Cleve’s picture on my fridge at home. I try to keep her in my thoughts. I hope to sponsor her until she is grown. And perhaps, some day I will meet her. Many sponsors have done so through the program.
I am not suggesting you have to drop everything and contact World Vision. There are several reputable organizations that will make sponsorship possible if you take the time to research them. But so often we feel we can’t make a difference and yet, here is an opportunity to put a stake in one of the most awful places in the world for women and say “Enough! Not her. Not this little girl.” I look forward to seeing what kind of woman Cleve becomes and I hope I help her get there. My $35 per month is on automatic withdrawal and I don’t even notice it is gone. I just know that when I ask myself if I’d rather spend $35 on dinner out or help educate Cleve, the answer is pretty easy. I just had to make a conscious effort to put my money where my mouth is. Whatever moves you about the problem of sexual assault, I hope that you see 2011 as an opportunity to be part of the solution.