Anita is absolutely inspiring! It is hard to imagine a life so different from the comforts and luxuries of living in America. I was blown away when she said she had to convince her parents to let her go to school by going on a hunger strike. Her courage never stopped shining as she put herself through college, even competing with men twice her age, and now she owns her own business!
This story pulls my heartstrings in several ways. I am also a business owner and without the ability to go to school and educate myself I have no idea where I would be. Anita fought so hard for the same opportunities that we sometimes take for granted.
I also have a passion for India. When visited in December 2004, I went to the small town of Conoor in Tamil Nadu. I visited a family in the Nilgiri Hills who had sent their daughter to the city to have a chance to go to school. They were of a low caste and could only afford to live in a one room shack. They bathed and cooked from the same water source. All their belongings could fit in a small rollerbag suitcase (I can’t even pack for a weekend trip in a single rollerbag). Their daughter was their only chance to improve their lives. This is The Girl Effect.
Later in the Trip, I visited the coastal city of Chennai. I was there during the tsunami and I witnessed first-hand its devastating impact on the eastern coastal towns. Many of the small shanty towns close to the shore in Chennai were absolutely wiped out from the aftermath of extreme poverty.
Anita is just one girl, but her effect is huge. Not only is she able to support herself and her family (including medical bills for her parents) but she has inspired every girl in her village to follow her footsteps. One thing she said that touched me the most:
“Do all girls have to overcome what I did just to have a chance?
I hope not.”
I hope not too! What can we do? Visit The Girl Effect website to learn how you can get involved and help give girls a chance.
This post is part of a collaborative effort of hundreds of bloggers coming together to write about The Girl Effect. I encourage everyone to visit The Girl Effect website to learn more. If you have a blog of your own please join the movement and post your own thoughts about the cause. Every small effort helps!