I am back from Kenya with a fire in my heart. I have a fierce and deep passion to spread the LitWorld LitClubs all over the world, to create a positive space for girls and women everywhere. I wrote a new piece about this movement on the Huffington Post, and thought to share a short snippet here:
These LitClubs, they feel like life and death work to me now. Why? The LitClubs are showing the girls that there is something to live for, that they can come to school instead of trading their bodies for food and potentially contracting the same disease that has killed many of their family members. And the LitClubs are showing the world that education, in time, is like vaccinating a child against poverty. That we are racing time to make this happen because every day a child misses school and begins to fade out, we lose part of the next generation.
A story: One of our LitClub members is the child head of a household of many children, her siblings; both her parents died of AIDS. She frequently visits the lake near her school because the men down there will give her scraps of food in the morning; in exchange for the use of her body. She goes to school after this, and then home to collect water from a distance, cook, clean and care for her many younger siblings, and go to bed in the pitch black, sleeping on the floor in one room with all her siblings breathing quietly beside her. She has told me her life is hard, but she was the first to offer me her only biscuit at the snack time we provided (it was her only meal of the day). She said to me the other day: “The Girls Club is the first place I ever felt what it must be like to be happy. I love coming here and I wish I could be here with everyone singing and reading always.”
I love the line “I am here for you” I found recently in a book of Buddhist meditations. I hope the LitClubs can be a way for us all to be here for her, for the girls to be here for each other, for us to be here for them, and through this, we all exist transactionally: We are here for each other.
It is my hope that you will join me in this movement.