Know that love surrounds you. It’s invisible.
~ Julian Lennon

A girl living in a marginalized situation hears these words but they don’t resonate. She asks questions, trying to recognize why they’re words of inspiration. This launches into an insightful conversation, starting with, ‘How could there be love when there is so much struggle?’…and ‘If it’s invisible, how do I know?’
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The banner in process with three girls working their magic

This was the girls’ (ages 9-16) reaction when the team was in Ethiopia last month and we suggested making an inspirational banner to hang in our new center. We, seeing so much empowerment in this statement, thought it was the perfect addition to the center. It’s this thinking that requires a balance of listening on our part. It’s the girls’ center. This needs to make sense to them and they need to feel just as inspired.

We discussed our interpretation – starting by reinforcing to the girls that we’re not going anywhere, explaining our commitment to them and to building this new foundation together. It’s thatfoundation that is ‘love’. It’s everything we’re creating together, what they’re creating within themselves through the programs and most importantly, the collective strength of the group. ‘Love’ is the empowerment within them, whether they’re in karate class with 24 other girls or alone as they fall asleep at night. And whether our group is in the US or sitting beside them sharing injera at the center, our ‘love’ is always there because of what we’ve built together.

Broken down with examples, spending time together and sharing special moments, this now made sense. These very special words offered a further sense of strength and something that can’t be taken away from them.

And then collectively, with amazement and giggles. ‘Yes! These are the right words! And this man, Julian. He wrote these words? He is a very good man, yes?’ …YES.

Selamun Yabzalachihu,

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