Updated: May 21
One of the most fascinating but sometimes disheartening things about fighting to end poverty is that there is no way to isolate the problem. At Zozu Project, we put resources towards educating children. Preschoolers and elementary schoolers are an incredibly vulnerable group. It is a privilege to provide education, meals, and healthcare to the youngest members of society who are the foundation of the next generation. But there are plenty of children who are already past elementary age. What about the other most vulnerable group– young women?
This is the battle of a girl in poverty. The weightiest weapon the culture wields against you is low expectations. You are expected to drop out of school after elementary. You are expected to lose your virginity before 15. You’re expected to capitulate before the men and to not speak up in your own defense. And as soon as you have children, school is out of the picture. Your family pressures you to marry so that they can get the bride price, feed the other children, and have one less person on their hands.
Girls are not taught that they can say no. They are not taught that they have an inherent value that is equal to a man’s. Yet in the community of Arua there are girls who are saying no and who want to fight for themselves.
In 2015 our friends started Taproot Charities to equip those fighters. They provide young women who have graduated elementary school but who cannot afford secondary school with the education and community they need to thrive.
Alone, we cannot solve all the problems of poverty, but perhaps working together we can. Through Taproot, people sponsor young girls on the cusp of womanhood so that they can attend secondary school. This is the crucial turning point where girls either keep going in their education and maintain their dignity and independence, or are pressured to marry to find security. With sponsorship, the girls are able to pursue their dreams.
Elizabeth grew up watching her older sister have children at 15. She decided that she was going to fight for something different. She was one of the first to be sponsored through Taproot, and now is fully employed making the uniforms for all of the Solid Rock students!
It has been so cool to see how God has woven Taproot and Zozu together. Girls who have been sponsored through Taproot now work for Zozu Project and Solid Rock Christian School!
Our seamstress who sews the uniforms, one of our nurses, a primary school teacher, and a preschool teacher have all come through Taproot. They have finished their education and returned to serve the community they came from. It’s a beautiful thing.
At Zozu we don’t believe that there is a limited pool of resources that we need to fight for. We love what Taproot is doing, and we want them to help women succeed! Check out the work that Taproot does here, and look into sponsoring a girl today.