#GiveGirlsWings: Project READ
In a safe space, an empowering place, girls have the ability to soar. But when they are in constant turmoil, learning, advancement, and emotional stability, become unattainable.
After a brutal 14-year civil war, another war rages on against girls. Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) is the number one crime against girls in Liberia.
January 2015, a 12-year old girl was brutally raped and murdered by a 30-something year old man in Liberia.
November 2015, a 16-year old girl was raped and impregnated by a police officer in Liberia.
December 2015, an eight-year old girl was raped by a 65-year old man in Liberia.
According to Liberia's Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, Julia Duncan Cassell, between January and September of 2015, there were 1,088 reported SGBV cases nationwide; 588 were rape cases and 293 were cases involving children under the age of 16."
And remember those numbers are only of reported cases. Many girls are too afraid of the stigma attached to rape and other forms of SGBV or simply don't understand that a crime has been committed. Often times, victims drop out of school, succumb to prostitution, or commit suicide. There's no place for recourse and no safe place to prevent these things from happening to begin with.
WHO AM I? WHY DO I CARE?
As a result of Liberia’s 14-year civil war, sexual violence has become the #1 crime against girls in Liberia. If there had been drop-in or mentoring programs in place, maybe 12-year old Rachel Garpue wouldn’t have been roaming the streets and brutally raped and murdered last year. This situation has become the norm. My name is Sang Kromah, and I am the Executive Director of Resources and Outreach for Liberia (ROL). I am passionate about this issue, because I had a Liberian sister who died because she didn't receive the help she needed soon enough. I'm an American girl, who was inspired by a Liberian girl and Project READ is how I am honoring her memory.
ABOUT ROL AND PROJECT READ:
This is why Resources and Outreach for Liberia (ROL) , a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, wants to open a drop-in center to be that place of recourse. 40-years ago when ROL's founder, Dr. Margaret N. Kromah migrated from Liberia to the United States as a young girl, a California woman, Nedra Richardson, opened her home to her, empowering her and supporting her until she became a dentist, an officer in the U.S. Army, and public health specialist. Project READ (Restoration Education And Development), ROL's education and empowerment initiative, wants to open a drop-in center, Nedra House, that will do for Liberian girls what Nedra did for her.
Project READ has collected well over 30,000 books for our library and our progress was featured on Baltimore's ABC2 News in December. Project READ is fighting to end the epidemic of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against girls in Liberia by turning victims into survivors and implementing programs that will help prevent the victimization of at-risk girls. Through a full library of books, one on one counseling, arts programs, weekly group discussions and activities, daily tutoring, community outreach projects, and a place to stay during times of emergencies, Project READ will give girls wings to soar.
HOW WILL DONATIONS BE USED?
Donations will go towards the rental of the drop-in center in Liberia and shipping the books and other supplies to Liberia. Project READ will become a self-sustaining entity through the sale of the short story anthology from our social change initiative, Project GirlSpire that will be published later this year. Project GirlSpire which passes on empowerment through literature and the arts from girl to girl, nation to nation.
So, help us pass on empowerment to Liberian girls, by donating to a cause that will keep them safe. If we can get 1,000 people to each make a donation of at least $20, we can reach our goal in no time. Your donation will change the lives of many.
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Did you know that if 250 people donate at least $20, we can reach our goal in no time? So please tweet, share the link, and spread the word about this worthy cause.
Team Project READ
Slowly, but surely we're inching to or goal of $5000. If we can get 250 people to donate at least $20 each, we can reach our goal in no time. So please, spread the word, share the link, tweet and donate! #GiveGirlsWings #IFeelSafe