Many who know me, know that I have a passion for a group of girls in Tamil Nadu, India. I have been visiting this school and hostel, volunteering as an english teacher, since 2007. ODAM
works to educate girls and women in their community to break the cycle of poverty and give the girls a better future. The girls live in and study at the school full time. Many of these girls did not have opportunities to go to school, and some were sent to work from as young as 5 yrs old. Our school offers them an accelerated learning program from 6th standard to 8th standard. In those three years at primary school, the girls cover the full primary school curriculum. They live in to ensure that they cover all their studies.
I consider these girls my girls, and they are close to my heart at all times. So when I hear news like this
, my heart aches. When young girls are targeted and raped, the reality of gender violence is bought again to the forefront of my mind. The news story is not about my girls, but it's close.
I have also been genuinely touched recently by a local Australian act of generosity. I was asked to speak about my school and the work of ODAM at a function last weekend. The local church youth group, a small group of about 16 kids, decided to hold a soup and dessert dinner to raise money for the establishment of a security fence at our hostel. I was surprised to find a hall full of people, all genuinely interested in our cause. I was even more overwhelmed by the beautiful young people who were hosting the event. They were genuinely interested in making a difference for 'my girls' in India.
I am excited to say that we did raise nearly $700 towards the new security fence. AND the very same week, I received exciting news that another $1000 was donated by the Kiwanis after I spoke with them earlier in the year. It was the Kiwanis group who suggested that we could actually see the fence happen. ....
I want to thank the Kiwanis, and the local youth group, for their wonderful contributions. I hope that together we will see the fence happen, and that 'our girls' will be safe while they are finishing their schooling. If you would like to help too - see the pay pal link at the top right hand corner of my page.
I am returned to the quote at the top of my page "one hand can not clap".... Together we can.