Happy New Year from your friends at The Cairn! As we look forward to 2014, a bit of reflection is in order.
The community of Winchester, KY did some great things last year. In tips alone, we (you):
- contributed to the start-up of a safe home for trafficked girls in Chennia, India
- supported programs that create opportunity for underprivileged men, women, and children in many parts of the world
- invested in organizations that prevent sex trafficking and conduct interventions and raids
- gave a special gift to our own RAC teens
Innumerable people have benefited from the generosity and involvement of the folks of Winchester. With that said, one word has been rolling around in my brain as we rolled into the New Year.
There is a plethora of organizations, programs, and ministries- local and global- that are doing phenomenal work and changing our world. As much as we would love to contribute to and support each of them, we just can't.
Besides being a place of authentic community and relationship here in our own city, our mission from the beginning has been the abolition of modern-day slavery. Yes, there are other injustices and terrible things happening in our world, and they're no less important. However, human trafficking/sex slavery is the fastest growing crime in the world today, and it is a manifestation and result of one simple injustice:
The value of a human life. A woman's in particular. All over the world, women are suffering unspeakable cruelties and abuses due to the simple fact that where they are, they are regarded as worthless.
A Chinese proverb says that "a woman should be like water; she should take no form and have no voice."
An Indian proverb says, “Educating a woman is like watering your neighbor’s garden,” meaning, of course, that educating a woman is both foolish and a waste of time.
In Hinduism, a woman has less value than a cow. In Islam, a woman requires three men to verify her story in court in order for her testimony to be valid. Her testimony, her worth, is one third of a man’s. (Captivating, John and Stasi Eldredge)
Our focus, then- the cause which we believe is worthy of our time, money, energy, and efforts- will be the empowerment of women in our world today. Our focus will be to reach into the plight of women and girls, and to go beyond giving them our pocket change in order to see them have greater opportunity. (Don't get me wrong, we love giving away your pocket change! Keep that coming- the tip jar is next to the register.) In 2014, we want to dream even bigger. We want to be able to turn slavery into freedom, oppression into opportunity, and poverty into power. We want to see it with our own eyes, and we want you along for the ride!
For the next few months, tips will not go directly to a specific organization as they did in 2013. We will allow them to accumulate in order to invest and involve ourselves in the empowerment of women later this year. I leave this thought with you for now:
"When you educate a girl, she tends to get married later on in life, she tends to have fewer kids, she takes better care of her kids, she has greater economic opportunity... When you educate a girl, you educate a village.
The failure to invest in these girls is nothing short of planned poverty." (Half The Sky, Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn)