Thursday, September 28, 2006

Zambia: A Country in Pain

Did You Know? ...

~Zambia has the highest rate of poverty in Africa

~With the population of 10 million, 80% live on less than $1.00 a day

~Almost half of Zambia's children are so malnourished that their growth has been stunted

~50% of girls are NOT in school

~75% of young people will never get beyond the seventh grade

~One in five Zambians is infected with HIV and will likely die

~The majority of those who die as a result of HIV/AIDS leave behind children who are also infected

~Average life expectancy has dropped to just 33 years

~Over 1.2 million children are orphans; that is 23% of all Zambia's children, which makes Zambia the nation with the highest number of orphans (Source:

~In rural Zambia, very few girls start school before the age of ten. By age 15, they are considered adults, which means they assume the responsibilities of marriage, child-rearing, and tending to crops (Source: Zambian Tourism Board)

These are the heartbreaking facts we learned at GEMS last night. But God has opened doors for GEMS to bring change and hope to young girls in the beautiful but hurting country of Zambia. The organization is now working to construct a home for orphans, train counselors to mentor young girls, and provide tuition assistance so girls can attend school.

Our girls are being encouraged through their monthly magazine to take action. September's action plan involves two simple but important steps: First, we prayed for the girls in Zambia. We may not be able to do much--but God can do great things in Zambia. And second, we committed to telling at least one person about what is happening in Zambia. I'm only one person--but if I shrug this off and expect someone else to help, nothing will change. If every girl in GEMS (15,000 nationally) tells one other person, we have 30,000 voices praying for Africa--and we have just increased awareness about a dire situation.

I'm not sure where else this campaign will take us, but I'm excited to think more globally as a Christian and help the girls to have compassion and reach out to people in need. I told the girls I'd write about Zambia on my website (I'm not sure they know what a blog is :) now YOU know. Won't you stop right now and at least one time, bring the girls of Zambia before our sovereign and powerful God's throne? Pray that they'll have the opportunity to meet the Savior. Pray that their physical needs will be met. Pray that they'll connect with an adult who can help them and love them.

More information on GEMS in Africa can be found here.

(Information taken from SHINE brightly magazine, a publication of GEMS Girls Clubs)

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