When two sisters are beaten for refusing to marry–at ages 8 and 10–they run away from home to the only sanctuary they know, a small school in northeastern Uganda established by BRAC, the Bangladesh-based development organization that fights poverty, illiteracy and injustice in the poorest parts of the world. “I Am Fine” documents their plight and those of other young girls in the Karamoja region of Uganda, the desperately poor province where girls are valued only for their bride-price in cattle. That attitude is slowly changing, however, thanks to BRAC’s Karamoja initiative, which has established 120 youth development centers in the region. There girls are provided with basic education, and life-skills. More importantly, they learn that they are worth far more than cattle. Such self-confidence is priceless.
©Ami Vitale, Lynn Johnson, Katy-Robin Garton | Ripple Effect Images
Ripple Effect Images is proud to spotlight this important initiative during the United Nations’ 16 days of activism to end violence against women and girls around the world. “I Am Fine” increases public awareness of the plight of Karamoja women, as well as the extraordinary gender-equality work of BRAC, which is totally dependent on funders outside of Bangladesh for its program in other countries. Southern hemisphere leadership and collaboration between impoverished southern nations translates into lower costs and higher impacts, making BRAC, according to The Economist magazine, “the largest, fastest-growing non-governmental organization in the world–and one of the most businesslike.” Not surprisingly, most of BRAC’s 125,000 employees in Africa and Asia are women. Please join Ripple in the UNiTE campaign by hosting your own event to “Orange the World!”
Written by Joel Bourne
Photo Credit: Ripple Effect Images