Forgotten Girls is a book about neglected girls around the world – their stories of hope and courage. “Moved by the plight of these neglected girls, advocates Kay Marshall Strom and Michele Rickett took a trip across continents to interview girls and to partner with ministries working to help females in some of the most difficult places in the world.” Together, they have written this book. Read the except below.
Around the world, women suffer from myriad problems that keep them oppressed and locked in poverty. But more and more we are finding that many of these adult problems actually develop in childhood. So if we are to have the greatest possible impact on women in the generations to come, it is imperative that we double our efforts toward today’s young ones. They are the nurturers of the future. They are the heart of tomorrow’s homes.
Girls born into a life of abandonment and abuse, resented and oppressed from birth, grow up acting out their oppression and abandonment. They believe they truly are inferior and deserving of abuse. Unless a life-changing event interrupts this pattern, abused and oppressed girls grow up to be abused and oppressed women.
When we met Parimala, she was an apple-cheeked two-year-old with dancing brown eyes and a bubbly personality. Kay gave her a Hershey’s Kiss, the first chocolate she had ever tasted. Parimala rolled the tasty treat around on her tongue, and her eyes sparkled. As the Kiss began to melt, a chocolaty smile spread across her face. Parimala jumped for joy and hugged our knees—but only so long as her auntie and uncle were in sight.
Auntie and Uncle changed Parimala’s life by bringing her into their house, where they accepted and loved her as their own. Curious neighbors peered over the fence to see this couple who actually chose a girl. They watched as Auntie cared for her and sang as she fed the child from her own plate. They watched as Uncle tenderly rocked her and carried her with him when he went out to check the cows.
In time, the bolder among them came right out and asked, “A girl? Why would you waste time and money on a girl?” That was a question they loved to answer, for it gave them a chance to affirm the value of every girl and every girl’s right to live. Again and again the couple repeated that girls are made in God’s image too, and are also precious in his sight.
The neighbors didn’t have too much to say, but evidently they listened. No baby girl is known to have been buried alive in that village since Parimala.
Rescue. Restoration. Prevention. These are the steps to real change.
If a newborn buried alive by her father in India can have a future, why not a tossed-away girl in Tibet or Mali or China? Why not a forgotten child in Japan or a girl trafficked and sold in Nepal? Why not a little one languishing in Sudan or Iran or Iraq? We are convinced that every unwanted girl has the potential of a different ending to her story.
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