I do not know who this girl is. I spent just under a minute with her, long enough to take these four photos. She is the nameless face of millions of children who need so much. She is everything that is beautiful and innocent. I encountered this girl in the Nansana slums, outside of Kampala, Uganda. She was one of the many kids who came that day to an outreach run by American volunteers. There were so many kids screaming and yelling trying to grab as many crayons and pieces of paper as they could before they were scolded.
As this chaos unfolded before me I pulled back. By this time on my trip around East Africa I was not able to interact with children anymore. Not because I was afraid of getting sick or had nothing to give them, it was because I simply could not look at these children without my heart breaking again. Children are the reflection of all things good in humanity. They are happy, they forgive, they care, they are innocent, they want to please, and they laugh and they illuminate joy.
The sad reality is that millions of children, especially girls, go hungry, are neglected, are abandoned, and are not loved. This is a travesty. This innocent little girl faces tremendous obstacles. She could be raped, forced into prostitution, or die of AIDS. The chances of her living a full life worthy of her are very slim. If I ever met this girl again I will give her the biggest hug possible and apologize for not doing enough.
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. – (Matthew 18:12-14 ESV)
I will never forget this little one. This girl deserves to be loved, to get an eduction, to be healthy and I will work tirelessly until that day comes.