The birth lottery

My Girl turns 18 today.

She is pictured here with some kids in Vanuatu who sang with her, did drawings for her and mucked around with her sunnies while she read with them for a week. Vanuatu has the lowest literacy rate in the Pacific.

Giorgia was born to parents who loved her : Kids in developing countries are born to parents who love them.

Giorgia had access to quality health care from the time she was born : Many kids in developing countries do not.

Giorgia had the opportunity to go to school and receive a quality education : Many kids in developing countries learn under the mango tree from an adult who finished primary school. 

Giorgia had the opportunity to find what she is good at growing up, music, dancing, English literature. She had to opportunity to learn that she does not like maths and had choices to do something different : Kids in developing countries often have very linear paths they need to take regardless of their strengths and interests.

Giorgia never had to stay home because she had her period because we couldn’t afford pads or tampons, or because there are no sanitary bins or toilet paper or clean water for hand washing at school : This is a constant challenge for the Girls we work with.

Giorgia is currently choosing from a range of options available to her, where she will go to university and perhaps if she will study and work in another country :  Kids in developing countries have limited opportunities and their future will be dictated by their family’s needs. A Girl may need to leave school at 14 and marry because her family can no longer afford any other option.

Giorgia has a family excited about her future: Young people in developing countries have families excited about their future, perhaps like us a little scared and unsure of what the world will look like.

From the vantage point of our privilege it is often easy to blame the poor for being poor, to have little understanding of the obstacles that they face from day one and little realisation of the luck of the draw when it comes to the birth lottery.

But rather than this being something that further separates us into ‘us and them’ as I wrote about yesterday, my hope is for greater understanding of one another across cultures. We are all just people, born in different contexts, with different opportunities, but all share in our humanity and love for our children. While the above challenges may not be ours, overcoming hardship is something we all have to do, pain and struggle is not just about money or resources or living in developing countries.

We are more alike than we know, we share resilience and the life requirement that we pick our selves up when beaten down…only really separated by the birth lottery, oceans and borders.


Jane for team ‘a Girl & her world’

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