- Posted January 23, 2013 by
San Francisco, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Girls + Education: Your message
“I didn’t know I was so beautiful!” The words of Ubo still resonate in my heart. I still choke back tears thinking about the smile on her face. She looked into my digital camera after I took her picture. This little girl did not know what she looked like until that moment. It was 2008; Ubo was seven years old. Her mother worked several places as a maid, with Ubo by her side, and it so happened that they were both in Kofele at the same time that I was. Every day, she worked, churning milk into butter, sweeping floors, gathering and lighting charcoal for cooking and making coffee. She worked day in and day out. The degree of maturity and the responsibility she displayed was mindboggling. She was truly beautiful.
Two years later, I went back to Ethiopia and went in search of Ubo. After a few days of searching, I got some terrible news; she had been raped. The rapist has since been caught, but the damage to this poor girl had already been done.
Despite her suffering, Ubo is now going to school and leading a normal life with a smile. The doctors checked her for fistula, a common plague in Africa when girls are sexually assulted or give birth at too young an age, and found that she is healthy.
Ubo’s hard work, maturity and independence is something I’ll never forget. The pride she exuded when she recognized her own beauty not only inspired me, it mobilized me. I was going to help this girl.
There are so many children out there like her. We cannot help all of them, but we are committed to changing lives like hers one small step at a time.
Ubo is the embodiment of Tangible Hope. She is beautiful. She is special.
I started Tangible Hope Foundation because of Ubo. We are working to change the lives of 50 young girls in Ethiopia by providing education, medical care and nutrition. Education, especially, takes these young girls out of the cycle of abuse and gives them hope for a bright future. We believe in the credo that 'when you educate a girl, you educate a nation'. We are a young, grass roots non-profit organization that in two short years has been able to make a huge difference in the lives of 50 young girls. The dramatic before and after pictures of these, now empowered, young girls, has inspired us to help more young girls. Now we have identified 50 more girls, based on need for sponsorship through Tangible Hope.
The next step will be to build a walled compound where the girls will be safe from the possibility of being kidnapped or raped. Here they will have after school tutoring, art classes and basic hygene, as they learn all the skills needed to excell in life. They, in turn will pass on this knowlege to future generations and so eliminate the pattern of abuse that has been going on for centuries in Ethiopia.
Please go to www.tangiblehope.org to see video of our "Current Project" to see more about all the work we are doing to rescue these young girls.
Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to share the story of Ubo.