Even amid the challenges of a global COVID-19 pandemic, let’s work together so that all the women, girls, men and boys have the resilience they need to get through this crisis and return to school in a safe and timely manner.

The Safe School and Safe House in Kipok, Tanzania, which are supported by LPGM’s partner, Mwangaza, has served 25 adults and 660 girls between August and November alone, teaching topics ranging from setting goals to coping skills. This is where we met Nengai, a young Maasai woman.

At only nine years old, Nengai’s mother was traded for livestock to marry Nengai’s father, who beat his child bride. Now, he has four wives and 20 children.

Nengai didn’t want the life her mother had — and her mother didn’t want her to have it, either — so she registered for primary school and walked six hours each way to attend. After completing her schooling, she experienced a painful female circumcision, as many Maasai girls still do. Yet her mother helped Nengai escape an arranged marriage and run away.

Thanks to the support of donors like you, she took refuge with a teacher while attending secondary school and stayed in the Safe House over school breaks. She’s now a teacher, helping other girls stay safe and get the education they so desperately desire.

Nengai regularly sends funds home to provide clothing and food for the family, and for her brothers and sisters to attain the same education she had. She hopes they will be able to help themselves and fight for their own rights and dreams.

Read Nengai’s words to you:

I believe that if you educate a woman…
She will know her rights and have the confidence and independence to stand up for them.
She will choose whom to marry and when to marry.
She will have fewer children, and they will be healthier and better educated than the previous generation.
She will not circumcise her daughters.
She will have economic security.
She will spend 90 percent of her income on her family.
She will help support her parents.
She will not forget where she came from.
As a Maasai woman, this is the reason why I appeal to you to support these vulnerable girls.

Because of your faith in Christ, you know that there’s nothing you need to do to earn God’s love. It’s freely given through the cross. God doesn’t need your good works… but your neighbors like Nengai do. You have an opportunity to help girls and young women like Nengai escape child marriage, female circumcision, and a life of hardship.

Education is one of the most powerful gifts you can give to girls like Nengai, empowering them to make their own choices about marriage, career and tradition. By making a gift to LPGM, you’ll support education for those in the margins, especially girls and young women like Nengai. Will you consider a gift today?

Author Dan Ruth

Dan Ruth is the executive director of LPGM and an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

More posts by Dan Ruth