Image credit: Srizki, flickr

Image credit: Srizki, flickr

Freedom is on my mind. As the U.S. prepares to celebrate Independence Day in a few days, I’ve been contemplating my freedoms.

I enjoy the freedom to vote for the candidate of my choice. I enjoy freedom of religion. I enjoyed the freedom of a good education, which gave me the freedom to do work I love and the freedom to marry the person I chose. I enjoy freedom from want, with a place to live and food to eat. I enjoy the freedom to live where I want to live and to travel to the places I want to travel.

Last week I viewed the film “Girl Rising.” The film reminded me of the invisible chains that bind many girls and women around the world. It also introduced me to heroic leaders, women and men who dedicate their hearts and souls to the task of unbinding the chains of girls trapped in the cycle of poverty, helping them move toward freedom.

Girls in developing countries face barriers to education that boys don’t. When a family can afford to educate only one or two of their children, they invest their resources in the boys, understandably, since men have traditionally had more earning power and more status in society.

Girls chained in poverty are often forced into child labor and into arranged marriages, becoming spouses to older men while they themselves are only 12-14 years old. Many girls become victims of human trafficking, experience physical and sexual abuse, and bear children while still in their teens.

When girls in poverty receive an education, the cycle of poverty is broken in one generation:

A number of organizations are leading the way in educating girls to break the cycle of poverty. Room to Read, CARE, World Vision, Girl Up, and Partners in Health are but a few. Courageous leaders teach night school for working girls, provide funding and convince parents to allow their girls to go to school, and support parents who take the risk of educating their girls.

Brave girls step up and take advantage of these opportunities. Challenging their parents, studying late into the night when they must work during the day, challenging the norms of their societies, girls overcome many barriers to learning.

What is your part? All of us can help release girls from the chains of poverty. Whether we volunteer to teach, whether we support those who volunteer, whether we donate money, we can help. May those of us who enjoy so many freedoms join these brave pioneers and work for the freedom of girls in poverty.

8 Responses to “Freedom”

  1. 1 Lorrie Herzberg July 1, 2014 at 5:47 am

    I recently made a few $25 micro financing investments to help women attain self-sufficiency in developing countries. Every once in a while PayPal sends me a notification that a deposit of 10 cents has been made into my account. It’s a lovely reminder that a small contribution can make a big difference!

  2. 3 Doug Schutte July 2, 2014 at 11:50 am

    As those of us in the United States, who are fortunate enough to experience the full range of freedoms afforded us by the establishment of a “more perfect Union” in 1787, and reiterated in a speech during the Presidential campaign on March 18, 2008, [see, should realize, poverty is the easiest barrier to freedom to overcome. Ideology, whether its foundation is in a religion, a culture, a society, a government, or a family, is a prison far more difficult from which to extricate an enslaved person. Freedom in the United States, which we celebrate this Friday, is an ideal which we continue to strive for in our own country and have yet to fully achieve, but our continuing struggle forward is a shining example to the rest of the world, which has been falling into step with us toward this prospect throughout the world. The ideologies that have prevented fellow human beings from experiencing true freedom in his or her life have existed for several thousand years and continue to be exposed for what they are in today’s world. Those of us, who are fortunate enough to experience a full range of freedom, will not see a peace in this world established by a shared love of one another in our lifetime on this planet. But by continuing to educate our children and our children’s children to respect life and love one another, as the world continues to shrink and barriers to freedom continue to fall, humanity will eventually be at peace and free.

  3. 5 Susan Drouilhet July 2, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Thank you Margaret for addressing such an important issue. Foundational for all of us.

  4. 6 executivesoulblog July 25, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    You’re welcome, Susan. Indeed, it is such a foundational issue.


  5. 7 bickleywilson July 1, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Margaret, so good to see you again. It has been a very long time since I have received anything from you & I love your energy, words, dedication to love & compassion & helping others. thanks for being you!!!

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