Every morning, Monday through Friday, I wake up, get the kids ready and into their uniforms, fix their lunches and commute for an hour across town to their prep-school. It is an amazing school–their teachers have advanced degrees, they are learning a second language and they are in an amazing, nurturing environment. That is part of my American story.

In rural Mozambique, however, completion of high school is rare. Because of all of the fees associated with keeping a child in school (uniforms, transportation, books, etc.) the majority of parents are unable to keep their girls in school; many girls drop out and are left with one option: to marry.

I think of my own daughter while writing this out. As a mother, I have made sacrifices to put my kids in prep-school. Private school is expensive but even if I couldn’t afford it, public school would be a viable option. If I didn’t want to go that route, I could home school. The point is, education is always on the table for us as Americans. A lot of the world is not so lucky and it breaks my heart. Could you imagine being a mother of a child that is bright-eyed and curious and ready to learn and, instead, having to marry them off because you can’t provide them with what they need? It hurts me to even type it out, knowing that this is happening in the world.

Luckily, there are things we can do to help. I have had the pleasure of meeting Elisabetta Colabianchi, founder of Kurandza– an organization that supports the Mozambique community through education, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development programs. With the help of Percina Miocha, Kurandza’s Country Director, a local and close friend, they have launched an inspirational program #IStandForGirls which has set a goal to send 100 girls to school through scholarship.

$20/month or $240/year provides a scholarship for one child in Mozambique. 100% of your donation goes to these girls and it covers everything — transportation, school fees, uniforms, books, school supplies and extracurricular activity. If you can’t provide a full scholarship, you can donate any amount towards this amazing cause here at the bottom of the page.

I was so moved by Elisabetta’s story. She explained that she met Percina 6 years ago during her travel in the Peace Corp…After a natural disaster, Elisabetta moved in with Percina and became her family. So much so that Percina asked Elisabetta to be her daughter’s namesake. She explained it beautifully here:

When Percina was pregnant, I was with her all the time and was the first to see Lindsey Brianna born. Percina had asked me to name her baby, which is a huge honor in their culture. When you are someone’s “Xara” or “namesake” in their culture, it means that you are the same person. Lindsey and I are the same person now in her culture. So Percina calls me “minha filha”/”my daughter” and Percina’s mom calls me her granddaughter. Lindsey and I also have so many of the same characteristics– we both are curious about life, are super friendly and love to smile, love learning languages, and our mannerisms are the same. 

Percina wanted her daughter to have an American name so she also said that she wanted me to name her “Elisabetta”. But since Elisabetta is actually an Italian name (my dad was born in Italy), I decided to name her “Lindsey Brianna”– American name that would be pronounced well in Portuguese as well.

As you know, I love to highlight moms and all that they do and this is something so beautifully special. In a way, I see Elisabetta as a mother figure to all these young girls. What other group of people love and nurture and go to bat for children in this way?

I hope you will take some time to check out Kurandza’s website and, if you are moved to, donate. The #IStandForGirls Campaign has not yet reached their goal of financing 100 young girls for school.

*This is not a sponsored post– I offered to post, free of charge, because I believe in this project. All thoughts are my own. All photos belong to Elisabetta Colabianchi of Kurandza.


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