A slight girl wanders into the lobby of a secondary school in Tanzania. She sits quietly in a chair, wait to speak to someone. She seems too young to be there alone, but she is. She’s dressed in traditional, everyday Maasai clothing. Simple, but colorful fabric. She’s wearing a pair of old sneakers and carries nothing else. No staff. No bag. No bread. No money.

The school staff knows her story will be difficult to tell, no matter the language. They soon discover her name’s Esther, and her story’s a familiar one.

Esther wants nothing more than to go to school. She has walked many miles to talk to the director of the Safe Initiative to ask for help.

Esther just ran away from a forced marriage. She doesn’t have the support of her family, or her new husband. She doesn’t have money, but she knows the value of school.

Esther is just 13.

Many Maasai girls like Esther face overwhelming poverty, early marriage, genital cutting, and sexual violence. Each of these issues affects a girl’s health and wellbeing. It affects her ability to go to school, stay in school, and effectively learn.

Although some Maasai families know that education is one of the best ways to improve health, social and economic conditions for students, the weight of poverty is heavy.

Families like Esther’s are forced to choose between sending their children to school and feeding them. Because of this, parents are forced to make difficult choices and some parents arrange marriages for their daughters in exchange for a bride price.

Jesus’ Easter resurrection is a gift to the whole world. It’s light shining through the darkness. It’s a gift of new life for all. Today, you can help Esther see a glimmer of light in the darkness, too. You can provide a form of resurrection for one Maasai girl in Tanzania.

Your gift today will provide Esther with a place to stay during school holidays, because going home is too much of a risk. Your donation can give Esther the option to stay.

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Despite the hardships she’s endured, I find hope in God’s promise to Esther in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans:

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor
rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor
height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to
separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8

As a faithful supporter of Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry, you know the impact your gift will have on Esther’s future.

Girls as young as 13 have little control over the fate of their lives and wellbeing, including the right to an education. Unless they go to extreme measures, like running away to find safety and acceptance in the school your gifts support.

Right now Esther is enrolled in school. She’s receiving an education and a safe place to live.

While she is currently safe and receiving a desired education, her needs remain great. With your ongoing support Esther can stay in school, she and her classmates can have a safe place to live and a safe place to learn.

Will you consider a gift to provide continued support to Esther and the other girls who are desperate for a life that provides them with so much more potential?

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Here are some examples of how your gift can be put to good use:

I’m deeply grateful for the gifts you’ve already provided. You are transforming the lives of these girls, their families and their communities. Your help makes a profound impact on the lives of these young women.

Thank you for your commitment to educating and protecting at-risk girls. We couldn’t do this important work without you.

In the coming year, we will continue the safe house & safe schools program, expanding direct assistance to more at-risk girls. But we need your continued gifts to do this. Will you give a life-changing gift today?

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Dan Ruth

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