The First Girl (Part Two)

GisselaI left Gissela that day on the mountain and couldn’t stop thinking about the experience. Her situation was sad, and I felt pretty helpless to do anything. What if I just left her all the cash I had? Would that be enough? How would I know if she continued going to school?

I started talking that night with a local minister about Gissela’s situation. “This isn’t normal, right? Her family has just fallen on hard times, and she’ll continue school later?”

“No. It is normal.” His reply wasn’t what I was expecting to hear. All of these girls were missing school at different stages of their lives because scraping together an existence was more important to the family. “If you want to help her, I think it is good,” he added.

That night we discussed the situation at length, and I came to realize that here was an opportunity. An opportunity to help one girl see her dream of continuing school come true. “How much?” I asked.  We scratched out the various costs on a piece of paper.  The answer was startling…$300! Piece of cake. Sign me up!

That year we got the money to Gissela and she continued her education, while I threw myself into understanding the scope of the problem. It was huge.

As I told this story over and over, more people began to ask how they could help. “Were there other girls?”  Yes! The offers to help came faster than I could act. I had to get something organized… people really want to help these girls!

Although we wouldn’t officially organize as a 501(c)3 non-profit for several more years, the seed had been planted that would grow into The Path of Hope Foundation.