Sweating for Sisterhood: Keep A Girl in School in Uganda

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Or: The Little Pot That Could (But Almost Didn’t)

Flowers

I’ve had this pot for a while now.

Sitting atop my white IKEA table. Empty.

For several months I stared at it, guiltily.

And every day, it stared back at me, questioning. If it had eyebrows, I imagine one would have been raised, as if to cheekily ask, “Well … ?”

You see, it wasn’t supposed to be empty.

A few months ago, I was given this little pot as a gift. It was given with a beautiful invitation: to allow the pot to hold a dream. A dream that would take root, grow and flourish.

This was no ordinary pot. It was given with intention. It was a call to action.

The same day –almost the exact moment–I received that pot, I was given a very clear dream (I know, shocking right?) A calling was birthed in my heart over a sweet symphony of sisterhood voices rising together. I was swept up in it. God had given me instruction! How wonderful!

And though it was indeed wonderful, I was petrified to take ownership of my dream. To allow it to take root in a practical way. My “Yes” was barely audible.

You see, I knew if I said “Yes” a little too loudly, I would be held to my dream. And under no circumstances did I want to be held accountable.

What if I couldn’t do it?

What if I wasn’t talented or gifted or compelling enough?

Even worse, what if I simply didn’t follow through? What if I got too stressed, too busy, or too scared to even begin?

What if I just wanted the warm fuzzy part of the dream without all the hard work that went along with it?

So that little dream fluttered about in my heart, patting me on the back, comforting me like every good intention does, but with no action to ground it. To make it come alive.

And so the pot stayed empty.

Searching

But one day, amidst the quiet hum of a local Starbucks, I muttered the dream out loud to a trusted friend.

When she asked—logically—if I had taken any steps to turn it into a reality, I pathetically admitted I had not.

She laughed. And I couldn’t blame her. I mean, here I was, holding onto a dream that I thought was mine. Using it to make me sound rather impressive and spiritual.

But I hadn’t staked my claim. Planted my flag. I had yet to put my hand up and enthusiastically proclaim: “YES, God, I’ve got this one!”

My so-called-calling was as about as rooted as a hazy dandelion orb. Seeds scattering here and there, influenced completely by whichever way the wind was blowing that particular day.

I felt so fake in that moment. Which, for your information, is a completely slimy feeling.

But a feeling that forced me to do something drastic. Something crazy.

I put my hand up.

Maybe a small thing to you. But utterly earth-shattering for me.

Now, I wouldn’t say my hand is waving about wildly.
Goodness no. I’m still so afraid to fail it makes me want to assume the fetal position in my closet and never come out.

But at least my hand is up there. At last my hand is up there.

And so I planted a little flower in my pot, its bright yellow petals perkily calling to the heavens: “She’s got this one! Finally!”

And since that moment, the dream has taken root and begun to grow. It’s not just an abstract idea anymore.

It’s a reality.

A sweat-inducing, vulnerability-exposing reality.

PlantingSo I need to ask you something. Something I’m profoundly uncomfortable with.

Will you stand with me?

Today—yes today!— I’m hosting an event called Sweating For Sisterhood.

We’re advocating for a pretty spectacular cause: Keep a Girl in School through Living Hope.

Did you know that 40% of the young women in Gulu, Uganda drop out of school when they get their period?

Without basic necessities like underwear and sanitary pads, they are too embarrassed to attend school and eventually get so behind they have to drop out.

Without an education, these future world-changers will be overlooked for leadership roles and positions of influence in their country.
Their options become severely limited.

For approximately $40, the Keep a Girl in School program is able to provide a young woman with life skills training, sanitary towels and underwear for one year. $40 is the amount standing between a young woman and her education–her ability to influence and change the face of her nation. Of our nation.

This comes down to pads. Pads! Goodness that makes me angry!

Will you come alongside me today?

We want to let these young women know that we see them. We believe in them.

The sisterhood is standing today. And we need you.

Donate Button

Our goal is to see one school—approximately 250 girls—sponsored. Would you be willing to join me … us?

If you’re in or near Langley, B.C, come party with us tonight at the Sweating For Sisterhood event. 
(Wear your workout gear!) There’ll be several of the SheLoves crowd there too, so come say hi!

KeepAGirlInSchool

__________________

Image credit (Flowers): Shannon Delmonico

Image credit (Keep a Girl in School): Tina Francis

 

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Megan Gahan
If you call me Meg I'll feel like we've been friends for a while, so do go with that. By day I run after two little dudes, but when the house is - finally - quiet I like to write, often a giant mug of Earl Grey Vanilla beside me. More often with a giant bowl of ice cream. I've worked in the fitness industry for over ten years, so talking body image and push-up technique gets me excited. I ponder those things, along with faith, parenting, and my desire to be a superhero over at megangahan.com.
Megan Gahan
Megan Gahan

Latest posts by Megan Gahan (see all)

Megan Gahan
  • I’m so proud of you, Megan! For planting your flower pot, for planting a flag in the ground, for taking the leap and asking towards the Big Hairy Audacious Goal. (Just thinking about the half-marathon now gives me chills.)

    My favourite thing about looking back though was how alive I felt in the days leading up to it. Even when it felt like a lot of work and I was uncertain and exhausted. I loved having a sense of purpose and direction. It was so clarifying and life-giving.

    I’m sure you you’re experiencing similar things. I’d love to chat afterwards about this leap! #leappostmortemcoffeedate

    xoxox,
    Teen

    • Megan Gahan

      Oh goodness Teen . ..thank you my dear. Big and Hairy really seems to sum it up doesn’t it? I laughed when I read all the feelings you were having in the days leading up to the marathon: purpose, clarifying, life-giving. I was not feeling any of that. I was swinging between wanting to hide under the covers with my Dairy Milk and crazy-stressed-out-pacing. I expect that the clarifying, life-giving part will come soon though! At which point I believe I will be ready for that coffee date! Love you oodles . . . thank you for standing with me.

  • So proud of you, Meg! Can’t wait to sweat with you tonight! Xo

    • Megan Gahan

      Thank you for literally & figuratively standing with me Idelette! In all the glitches and triumphs, you are there, and I can’t tell you how much that means! I need people like you around to help me sense that big picture I tend to lose at times!

  • Julie Cochrane

    Hi Megan – loved reading this post this morning. My heart is still pounding from the sense of ‘she’s telling my story!’ Loved it. I’m off to buy a pot for myself, and for the other loves in my life… and once I figure out how to donate from Australia I’ll be joining you in your quest.

    • Hi Julie! It’s a PayPal account, so it should work internationally. Let me know if you have any trouble. Unfortunately we can’t give tax receipts, but we love doing “backyard philanthropy” together. Thank you for joining in!!!

      • Julie Cochrane

        Thanks Idelette – Done! – (using my husband’s details) without any problem. Love the amazing work of the Skinners and their team in Uganda. Our church, Hillsong, love partnering with them. Enjoy your day!

        • Thank you so much, Julie! We love the Skinners here too … O, I love this global sisterhood rising. Thank you-thank you-thank you!

    • Megan Gahan

      Oh Julie . . . the biggest compliment I can get is ‘she’s telling my story’! Thank you so much. Once you buy that pot, post a photo of it on our Facebook page or on Twitter, won’t you? I would absolutely love that! Keep moving forward my dear! And thank you for taking the time to read and comment 🙂

  • Cynthia

    Thanks for letting your heart be wide OPEN and giving us the challenge. So proud of you stepping out in faith and I believe God is going to do an Ephesians 3:20 work with your dream. I have that same “little pot that could” and I’m planting the seeds like you and boldly risking those first steps. DO IT AFRAID….that’s what someone shared with me one time. God will exponentially help your dream to flourish. He loves it when we have faith to believe, (this is what I hold onto). I won’t be able to be there tonight (bummer!) but I will be dancing with you and the girls in spirit. I am happy to give such a small amount to keep one girl in school for a year.

    Love and hugs to you!
    Cynthia

    • Megan Gahan

      Thank you so much Cynthia! Your words have filled me to the brim! I so appreciate you coming alongside, and taking time to speak so beautifully into my life.

  • Cynthia

    Sorry Megan, my picture isn’t meant to be THAT BIG with my comment…can’t figure out how to get rid of it now. Oh well….how embarrassing!!

    • You’re so cute, Cynthia! 🙂

      I’m sure Megan doesn’t mind!

      xoxox

    • I love it!!!!!

    • Megan Gahan

      Ditto what Tina said, Cynthia! You are beautiful 🙂

  • cjdeboer

    So proud of you Meg and wishing I could be sweating it out with you tonight!!! Hope all is going well – sending love and prayers from Denver!

    • Megan Gahan

      Thank you my fearless editor! Wish you could have been there, but I jet-setting is important too! I am so grateful for your help in melding this piece. Can’t wait to see you soon!

  • Bev Murrill

    How could we say no? What a vision!

    • Megan Gahan

      Bev, your comment made my day! If you can’t say no, I’m doing something right – or, I suppose, God is! Thank YOU!

      • Bev Murrill

        Glad you’ve got paypal.. you won me, absolutely. REally, I’ve been concerned about this issue for a while, but you gave me the opportunity to give! What a woman you are!

  • fiona lynne

    This is fantastic, and a bit of a wake up call for me to do something with those dreams I’m holding to myself because I daren’t risk telling anyone. Hope the event went so so well yesterday – this is one dream worth joining for sure.
    p.s. your dress in that photo?! beautiful!

    • Megan Gahan

      Thank you so much Fiona – for the compliment on the piece and the dress! I’m such a chicken when it comes to speaking dreams out loud, so I relate to anyone who feels apprehension in that area. Sooooo appreciate you giving me a little boost today 🙂

  • Helen Burns

    Megan!!!!!! I told you you are my hero before and I must say it again!!! You are my hero. Thank you for putting your story, your heart, your passion out there and doing your part to bring forth miracles. I admire and love you more than words can say! R:women are raising 10,000.00 too, so it amazes me what we can accomplish together! GO girl…

    I am donating now…

    I love you more than words can say!!!!!

    xoxoxo

    • Megan Gahan

      Every time I read your comments, I think you are mistakenly posting it for someone else! I think, “There is NO way she is talking about me.” But apparently you are, and I feel so honored and humbled by your words. Thank you for the pot; thank you for the planting oh-so-many seeds in me; and thank you for giving me the courage to carry it out. Love you so much!

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  • Christina

    Thanks for sharing, and for putting up your hand. Have you heard of daysforgirls.org? It is a volunteer organization that makes reusable feminine hygiene products. There is a group in Coquitlam, I just came back from 5 weeks in Uganda and Kenya, and whenever I gave these out the women were so thankful. At Impact Nations we are empowering women in developing countries any way we can.

    • Megan Gahan

      Hi Christina – thank you so much for sharing about your experience and the reusable feminine hygiene products. Very cool. Currently, the Keep a Girl in School program uses feminine hygiene products that are produced locally, thus creating sustainable income in the villages for those that make them. So appreciate your feedback though!

  • Um, I have somehow missed this bit of info. Wow. Something as small as pads should never stand in the way of a happy, healthy and safe future. Good gracious. I’ll donate. And I love what you said and it felt too familiar. I have all those same doubts and feelings, and they’ve kept me from trying lots of things. Yuck.

    • Megan Gahan

      Thanks so much Ashley! I was shocked to learn the stats as well. I am so grateful to you for standing with us!

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