A few weeks ago I was invited to a bridal shower.Â I have met the bride once or twice, but I don’t really know her.Â As I was shopping for a gift to take to the shower I thought to myself, “Why am I getting her a gift?Â This seems silly.Â I don’t even know this girl.”
However, I thought back to when I was getting married.Â Some of my mother’s friends in her ward threw me a shower.Â I had probably only met two of the women before, and the rest were strangers to me.Â They knew my mom and were happy to support her and me in my upcoming marriage.Â Those women were so generous, and Dallas and I were grateful for the items we received.
I realized I felt the same way about this girl.Â Though I don’t really know her, I do know her mother, and I love her mother.Â I was happy to spend a few bucks to help this girl start a new chapter in her life as a wife.Â Strangers had done the same thing for me when I was a new bride with nothing; it was my turn to return the favor.
My thoughts then turned to my friend, Ann. We were on the same floor freshman year at BYU.Â We lost touch after that, but the blogging world has reunited us!Â Ann is a busy wife and mother to five (FIVE!) lovely girls.Â She has taken an interest in the war that is occurring right now in the Congo.Â No, she hasn’t just taken an interest in it, she’s actively working to help women in the Congo who are suffering.
Here are some facts she just posted on her blog:
- This is the deadliest war since WWII, and also the most ignored.
- 5.4 million dead as of January 2008, with 45,000 more continuing to die each month.Â (That’s a September 11th every 2.5 days.)
- Innocent women are used as weapons in this war: warring militias compete to be the most brutal, and thus the most feared.
- Thousands of women (ranging from ages 3-80) are gang raped each month.
- Women are forced to watch as family members are kidnapped and killed.
Ann has also posted links to articles that describe the conditions these women are facing.Â It’s horrible.Â So horrible that sometimes I can’t even finish the article because I feel so sick inside.
Ann is sponsoring a fundraiser called Yoga for Congo Women. Again, from her website:
100% of the proceeds will go towards sponsoring Congolese women survivors through Women for Women International.Â Women for Women is an established and well-vetted organization that works with women survivors of war world-wide.Â They provide:
- emotional assistance to heal from the trauma they have been through
- rights and health awareness training
- literacy training
- skill-specific training, including business management
- seed money to start her own small business upon completion of the one-year program
Though we don’t have a lot, Dallas and I decided that we would donate some money to this cause.Â I love Ann.Â I want to support an old friend in this worthy endeavor.Â I also find myself wanting to help the women in the Congo whose lives have been shattered – women that I don’t know, but women who need help starting a new life.Â We can’t do a lot, but we can do something.
I know many of our blog readers are just as poor as we are, and there are many deserving causes that you could spend your money on, but perhaps you will find your way over to Ann’s Yoga for Congo Women page and learn more about how you can help.
I never really know if the gifts I give to new brides are useful to them; at least I know this is one gift that will be cherished by the woman who benefits from our small donation.