Saturday, January 28, 2006

empowerment

Back in South Africa...
we returned a few weeks ago, and the time has been flying. there was incredibly exciting information for me upon my return. we just received funding from the US embassy to run empowerment training for 60 girls from grades 4-7. the director in south africa, George, asked me if i could coordinate the program.
so now the challenge starts! we already run support groups for 256 grannies or caregivers who care for AIDS orphans. The focus of the training is to teach the care givers what the kids are going through in terms of grieving, and other psychological issues they face. these support groups and training courses have been running well for 1 and a half years, and we asked the grannies at the end of last year what needs they see for next year. they said that they need income generation training and the kids they care for need training and support groups as well, because they need to know they are not alone. so we submitted a proposal to the US embassy to run these groups for young girls, and the request was approved.
i must say that i love the hand of God in all of this. i was overwhelmed, as the project has begun to grow and take shape, how much potential and need there is for these programs. the problem of AIDS does not end at death. instead, for the orphans who are left behind, thier lives are forever changed, and they need more help to work through what they have gone through.
so what has been going through my mind? to being, i don't think i am qualified. i feel blessed to have this chance, but i know i have so much to learn. i am excited to meet the grannies (they have more training sessions that start this Monday), to sit beside the young girls, to expand thier horizons so they can see and dream and hope for a better future; one with out AIDS and poverty. we get to do cool things like take field trips and watch inspirational movies and take cooking classes. this all may sound very fluffy, but you must understand the context. many of these young girls are heads of households; they wake at 5 am to iron and collect water. they travel to school, unsure if they will be raped or assaulted on the way, or by their teacher when they arrive at school. many have not traveled 10 km from the township they were born in, and they now live under the stigmatizing shadow of being an AIDS orphan.
and then friday we got another great e-mail. the US embassy asked if we could run programs for 150 girls instead of 60. and they will come and give training to me as the program coordinator.
so if you are the praying type, please pray for me to have wisdom, to find balance between work and relaxing. i am getting sick in my lungs, bronchitis probably, but it has been a rough week. i will post more when i get back from the planning meeting. alongside all of this, there is multinational stragetic conference coming up in March for Hands at Work, and I am involved in a lot of the planning for that. we are drafting an annual report and coordinating speakers. it is a hectic and exciting time for me and for all of us here.
adios for now.
grace and peace,
maeghan

2 Comments:

Blogger c said...

Maeghan!
Thought I would check up on what you were up to lately. Just when I think I'm going through a rough week, I read your entry and realize that there's a whole world out there that's going through things a lot worse than I am. It's great to hear about the program being funded by the US embassy at this time. My prayers and thoughts are with you as you continue to do this great work. Hope your bronchitis clears up soon and make sure to take time to relax a bit. A burnt out Maeghan will do no one good =). Take care and God Bless.

Love,
Emzhei

P.S. On Friday, a whole bunch of us (including those on coop such as Quyen, Chris and Marilyn from our floor) had dinner at REV. It was so weird going back but it was fun none the less. Just thought I'd let you know...

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maegs that's awesome. I'm so proud of you; I had tears in my eyes as I read that that.

I love you and think you're awesome; just wanted to let you know that.

Thinking of you always

-kt ;)

8:54 PM  

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