Fear is staring me right in the face. Most days I’m afraid that God picked the wrong girl. I’m afraid He won’t come through for us. I’m afraid I’ll make mistakes. I’m afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone again. I’m afraid that girls will count on me and I’ll disappoint them. The fears keep coming like the news ticker that scrolls at the bottom of my TV. Most days, I feel incapable of leading the way, which is probably not something a leader should admit to the world.
But you know what keeps me going?
I keep moving forward knowing that there are girls out there who have been shunned from their family, kicked out of their homes and have nowhere to turn other than the streets or the slums.
I continue to fight through my fears as I think about the girl who is terrified because she is carrying a child and can’t comprehend how she will provide for her growing family when she can’t even provide a meal for herself.
I keep shoving my doubts to the side when I think of the girl who is thinking of self-aborting her child because she doesn’t have a safe place to live and raise a family.
I press on thinking about that girl who has been raped yet blame is heaped on her for the pregnancy.
I stop giving fear so much real estate in my heart when I hear about how prevalent child marriage still is in this country.
I keep going for these girls.
I’m collecting every piece of courage I can find and moving forward because there’s so much at stake. I will stay the course.
I won’t be able to dazzle you with eye-popping numbers, but I can promise you we will pour into these girls’ lives through facilitating family reconciliation, counseling, discipleship, job training and education with the hope of lives changed for generations to come. The Uganda Demographic Health Survey 2016 report shows about 25% of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 were already mothers or pregnant with their first child.
Although this number is shocking, when I see it I think one thing. Behind these numbers are names. Behind those names are stories. Behind those stories lies pain.
But behind that pain is a chance for hope and healing.
These girls are crying out does anybody see me? Does anybody hear me? Does anybody care?
And I want us to rally behind them and come alongside them and remind them, “We see you! We hear you! We care about you!”
Will you stand with us?
- Tiffany Kavuma, Founder and Chief Celebrator of Life at The Zoe House