Sweet Summer 17: Week 1, Day 4
Companies have long used lofty campaign slogans to sell their products. They promise a better life, freedom, happiness. They’re idealistic and sell a lifestyle more than the attributes of the product. Can sharing a Coke and a smile really teach the world to sing in perfect harmony? I’m not so sure.
A few years ago, as I was casting my vision for how we would empower vulnerable families, and what the big picture effect of that would be, the words “save a child, change a nation” concluded my impassioned speech. Our team jumped on it, and it has since been used in various capacities at Sweet Sleep.
Sounds lofty and idealistic, right?
This week we have seen, time and time again, the power and absolute truth to that statement. There is the obvious transformation that will happen if this generation is educated, and tomorrow’s leaders emerge capable of supporting their families, educating their own children, and contributing to the advancement of their country. But I want to share a darker side to how saving a child will truly change a nation.
There is a village called Lacor. During the war, it was the only active trading center before the Sudan border. Large trucks would stop there before passing to Sudan, and Lacor became a hot bed for child abuse, sexual exploitation, and prostitution. The HIV virus spread, causing the vast majority of the residents and transients to become HIV positive.
Now living positively, as it is called here, the community of Lacor is struggling. As I was being briefed before our arrival there, the tears that were welling up quickly turned to waves of nausea as I was overwhelmed by what I was hearing.
Child mothers as young as 13 and 14 years old are resorting to prostitution to pay for their anti-retroviral drugs so they don’t die.
Wrap your mind around that for a moment. This is so far beyond paying school fees and buying beans and rice to have one meal every two days. The virus continues to run rampant through this border town community and is being carried away and spread far and wide by the truckers who pass through.
We have got to empower these young women. The health of a nation is at stake. Let’s save these girls from the only way they know how to fund their survive. Let’s stop the spread of this insidious disease.
Already, we have initiated our first economic development group in Lacor, but there is so much more need. The girls, single mothers, and young women in our group have received business development training, and we have established a savings and loan program within the group so that the members can start their own small-scale businesses. No longer is prostitution the only option they have, and their human dignity has been restored.
You cannot imagine how easy it is to empower these groups. The dollar goes a long way here and these business opportunities change lives! We have seven groups identified and ready to be inducted into our economic development program. Each group has 10 to 15 families, and represents 350 to 525 children saved.
Here’s what you can do:
$1500 – Start a cooperative business for 10 to 15 families
$500 – Start a savings and loan program
$150 – Help one family join a cooperative business
$100 – Provide bibles for an entire cooperative business group
It is critical that we raise $10,500 in order to achieve this, and time is of the essence. So please give, knowing 100% of your gift will be used to train, empower, and restore human dignity. Your gift really will save a child and change a nation.
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