Saturday, April 9, 2011

Meet Liazah

After reading the book Half the Sky for a book study, some AAUW members wondered what they could do to help more women prosper. At the March meeting, Jeanne Jensen introduced us to Liazah from Zimbabwe. Member Maryjane Westra, who is living and working in Zimbabwe, suggested Liazah as a wonderful candidate for scholarship funds. Here's what Maryjane says about Liazah:
Liazah’s lovely smile will tell you all you need to know about her. She is a young woman with potential. She and young women like her are the future of Zimbabwe. She is worth the investment.

Liazah, age 18, is a recent graduate of the Daisy Dube Children’s Home, which means she has aged out of the children’s home care and must, by law, move out. Unlike other young girls her age, she has no family to take her in and no source of support. With unemployment at 90% in the rural areas of Zimbabwe, the best she can hope for without further training is “piece work,” meaning undependendable day labor jobs like carrying water or working in the fields. Sometimes girls find themselves marrying for all the wrong reasons.
Liazah’s impoverished parents sold her into marriage at the age of eight. She went to live with her future husband’s family where she did forced labor and waited for marriage. At the age of 12, the much older promised husband could wait no longer and took her as his wife. Child welfare officials became involved and Liazah came to Daisy Dube Children’s Home in Mt. Selinda Mission. She has been a hard worker and shown responsibility for the younger residents at the home.

She recently graduated from Form 4 “O” levels, roughly the equivalent of high school. But any further training requires two years of “A” level classes. She is a good student, although she was disappointed that she did not pass English. A passing grade in English is vital to future education. Her spoken English is excellent and we intend to help her study to pass the English exam in April.

Liazah has had some ideas about her future. She is sure she does not want to marry until she has completed some training or education. She volunteers for the hospital full time in exchange for some food and a small room. She does not own a cooking pot or a pillow. She recently took some sewing lessons and sewed herself a uniform. Mt. Selinda is her family and she has adopted Don and Maryjane Westra as her mom and dad!

A sponsor for this young lady would allow her to complete her “A” levels. Sponsorship would mean paying school fees ($90 per term, three terms per year for two years), some money for school supplies and a small amount of money for incidentals. In exchange she will write to you about her progress and future dreams. This girl has potential!
To help support Liazah as she finished her "A" levels, please send donations to Leslie Flugstad, 931 First Ave , Fergus Fall, MN 56537. Please indicate what donation is for. We also invite you to bid freely at the silent auction at our May 16 50th anniversary celebration!

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