Wait a minute M. Post(wo)man

“Imagine you are a letter traveling through time. What message do you wish to convey to your readers?”

This is the theme of the Universal Postal Unions Letter writing contest for 2018.  Winners will be announced today. All week is International Letter Writing Week, which was started by the UPU as a way to foster mutual understanding among people all around the world. Today is World Post Day.

20181009_081000(1)I am participating in International Letter Writing Week as a way to promote connection; however, it can also be an opportunity to advocate on your own causes. Below is the powerfully elegant letter that last year’s winner, 14-year-old Eva of Togo wrote  on behalf of girls who are forced into marriages against their consent. it was in response to this theme:

“Imagine you are an advisor to the new UN Secretary-General which world issue would you help him tackle first and how would you advise him to solve it?”

Her identity is concealed in the letter but Kudos to her for understanding the power of a single letter. Perhaps it will inspire you and I look forward to the announcement of this year’s winner.

UN Secretary General

Dear Secretary General,

My name is [E], I am [age] years old and I live in [City], [Country]. Just like any other young girl, I dream of the perfect wedding, with a dazzling white dress and the perfect gentleman by my side, of an unending buffet and throwing my bouquet, and of two wedding rings that are more beautiful than diamonds. I dream of the perfect wedding, but it’s only a dream as I have all the time in the world before I get married, and for that I am happy! It is just a dream for me, but for others it is a horrific reality. Every day it becomes a reality for poor young girls who cannot defend themselves. Each year, more than 15 million girls aged 15 and under are forced to marry men three times their age.

No doubt you have understood, Mr Secretary General, that today I would like to talk to you about child marriage.

Child marriage is the act of marrying a child who has neither legally nor emotionally reached marriageable age. Child marriage is the result of deep-rooted traditions, poverty, ignorance, early pregnancy or a lack of law. Underdeveloped and poor countries are often the most affected, and the victims are usually girls aged 15 and under. They are married to build strategic alliances and partnerships with other families. They are married because of tradition, which leaves their parents with no choice in the matter.  They are married because they are seen as a burden and another mouth for their parents to feed. They are married because…because…because…

The solution, the only solution to child marriage, is education. Education allows the children of today, who will be the adults of tomorrow, to understand that age-old traditions which instruct them to marry off their daughters are unfair, and that poverty is no excuse, especially when the men are far too old for them. But education is not possible without means, without money. Underdeveloped countries are often poor, lacking the means to build good education facilities and recruit qualified teachers. They settle for low-performing schools. Aid to underdeveloped countries must, therefore, be increased, so these countries can make up lost ground in terms of both their educators and their infrastructure. But for now, these countries must be encouraged to strengthen their laws against child marriage. When families end up in court for having married their child too young, they are often released without charge as they can bribe the judge or police officer. Not to mention how the legal system can often be much too lenient in these types of cases. And ironically, although it was a lack of money that drove them to marry off their daughter in the first place, parents then have to find the money to bribe the legal authorities. They are trapped in a vicious circle and only you,
Mr Secretary General, have the power to help them break free today.

Mr Secretary General, I hope that my small contribution will help you as you plan your work for the years to come, and that you manage to end once and for all the inhumane and outdated practice that is child marriage.

Kind regards,

[E]

Who will you send a letter to this week?

 

 

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My Special Needs Child

mom kissing daughter

Coming soon! An E-Book for Caregivers with Special Needs Children

Learn to ADVOCATE, PARENT, AND BUILD STRENGTH in raising your child with special needs

Find your peace of mind as you learn what supports you need in place to guarantee a life of emotional, financial, and physical security for  you and your child

Do you worry about:

·      What will happen to my child and will he or she be happy?

·      Who will help me with my child and how do I get my friends to understand the stress I’m under?

·      How do I get over the loss of the dreams I had for a family?

·      How can I tell if my child is acting out because of his disability or because he’s being a kid?

·      How will I support myself when I have to support my child?

·      What if my spouse leaves me because of the pressure?

·      What school should my child attend and do I have any recourse if my child’s school treats him or her inappropriately?

·      What will happen to my child after I die?

 

You’re not alone. Nearly one-fifth of American families have a member with a disability, either physical, sensory, or intellectual (according to the National Organization on Disability). And many people with disabilities or special needs are outliving their primary caregivers (their parents) because of advancements in medical technology and treatment.

My Training and Credentials

At this juncture, you may be wondering who I am. Beyond having been a journalist, a researcher and a licensed professional counselor, I am also a mother to two children who have had special concerns at various times in their lives.

My youngest son was born with a disability. My older son developed a temporary disability later in his life, which he has overcome. Each of the experiences came with its unique set of challenges and opportunities.

When I first heard the diagnosis for my youngest son, I sat on my bed, called a friend and sobbed to her “I just want my son to be okay.” My friend tried to comfort me as best as she could, but she couldn’t truthfully tell me if my son would be okay. No one could. As his diagnosis began to unfold, I found myself struggling to find help. We lived in a remote New Mexico community and autism resources were only beginning to be offered there.

Consequently, I had many sleepless nights of constant worry, fear, and grief of what the future could hold for my beloved son.  Also, I had to completely reorder my life emotionally, spiritually, financially, socially, and professionally because of his special needs and the lack of resources available.

One of my biggest fears, initially, was the fear of the unknown. I had never had an experience as a mother of a child with a disability so I had no idea of what to expect. So, what did I do? I did like any mother who wants what’s best for her child:

  • I scoured the Internet,
  • Made hundreds of phone calls,
  • Took countless trips to professionals, and
  • At the end of the day collapsed exhausted and still scared.

No doubt about it, it can be a lonely and stressful experience as a caregiver and our ability to access an in-person support group can be challenging, and in some regions of the United States, nearly impossible.

But you’re not alone. My E-Book, “My Special Needs Child: The Complete Guide to Advocating, Parenting, and Building Strength” will help you address your worries and connect you with the vital resources you need for you to have peace of mind as a parent.

  • You’ll learn the subtle shift in thinking that will empower you and your child. It took me nearly a decade to understand and articulate this idea, and I’ll share this with you in my E-Book.
  • You will gain insight into how to be a parent and not only a caregiver.
  • You will read stories from people who have been where you are now and the successes they have achieved and that you can achieve, too.
  • You will learn how to overcome your reticence in speaking up for your child and yourself. This book will help you trust your intuition when opinions differ with professionals.
  • You will learn effective advocacy skills to help you and your child meet your needs to ensure the best outcome. You will learn the critical skills to advocate at the local level all the way to the federal level.
  • If you are worried about having enough money or how your career will be affected by your caregiving role, this E-Book will share about financial tools you can leverage for economic peace of mind.

Life can have many sudden twists and turns. Whether through an accident or the aging process, at some point every human being will experience either a temporary disability or a disability that becomes permanent. You will gain understanding how disability affects a person in different ways across the lifespan.

It’s not always easy to raise a child with disabilities. There is even a time of grieving as a diagnosis comes to light. But it can be a fulfilling and a profoundly positive life-changing experience in a way you never would have planned for yourself. In this E-Book you will learn how to transform what looks like a loss into a positive experience which will ripple throughout all your relationships.

If you are worried or struggling with knowing what to do or who to turn to for help for your child with a disability, then this e-book is for you. You will save countless hours of worry and research. You will find your way through the maze of programs, professionals’ opinions, and life’s challenges. You will find new meaning and purpose in life and release your fear and anxiety.

Please fill out my contact form below to let me know of your interest in this e-book. I am here to help.

© 2018 Brenda Henning