Lynn Willis, LEAD’s Spiritual Guide, attended the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto November 1-7. She will be sharing her experiences and reflections in a series of newsletter articles.
Susan B. Anthony said, “the bicycle has done more to emancipate women than anything in the world.”
Armene Modi is from India. She is the founder of Ashta No Kai (“for a better tomorrow”). Ashta No Kai is dedicated to empowering rural women.
Ashta No Kai aims to make a difference in rural women’s lives by providing them with the education, vocational skills, and resources they need to become economically independent and self-reliant.
One of the things they do is provide access to bicycles for girls in India and Afghanistan so they can get to school.
One day a mother came to Professor Modi and said her 8-year-old daughter had been given as a child bride to a powerful 40-year-old man. Would she please help to get her back?
Mrs. Modi asked all the powerful men in the area for help and no one would dare aggravate this man. So Mrs. Modi contacted him herself. Many times she contacted him.
Finally, he came to her office – with 10 armed guards. Can you visualize this?
She said, “You paid a bag of rice for this girl, allow me to pay you 5 bags of rice to get her back.”
He stormed out saying that the law was on his side.
She persisted. She kept calling him. Three times he came back and refused. Finally, he said in exasperation, “Why do you care about this one girl so much?”.
Mrs. Modi said, “She should be on the playground with the other girls her age. That is her life. Not this.” And he said, “Fine! Take her!”
About 15 million girls each year marry before they are 18.
Armene Modi is saving one child bride at a time. Making the world better.
The day after hearing this story I was at a Lutheran/Anglican worship service. The gospel lesson was Luke 18:1-8 (The Parable of the Persistent Widow.)
Some truths never change.
Others in the Parliament of World’s Religions series: