What would you give up for a greater purpose? Coffee, TV, chocolate?
How about every form of communication... for a week!
For the average 16 year old girl, communication is almost as important as breathing. Mums roll their eyes as the telephone rings for the 5th time on a school night, Dads take temporary ownership of mobiles when sms texts beep all the way through dinner, and brothers stand at the bedroom door trying to overhear a top secret conversation between their sister and her friends.
So what could compel three young ladies to take a vow not to communicate for a week – no talking, texting, facebook or emails?
Justice. Or more rightly, injustice.
Lani, Tayla and Brittany first heard of the A21 Campaign when listening to 2010 Summit Speaker Christine Caine at Hillsong during their school holidays. They heard ‘about the A21 campaign and the things happening around the world and how Christine is trying to stop it. She shared all the statistics and it was then we decided we would do all we can to help.’
They are most passionate about helping young girls who are sold into the sex trade industry, saying ‘the statistic that made our hearts race was the fact that this [human trafficking] is the number two crime in the world and nobody knows about it. Human trafficking is happening right on our door step and we are oblivious to it.’ With reports of girls as young as four being sold by their families into brothels and forced to serve up to 40 men per day, they decided ‘we could no longer sit down and do nothing; we were determined to help set these girls free.’
Considering what the most important thing in their lives was that they ‘could strip away in order to raise awareness and funds’, they realized one thing they all had in common was a love to communicate.
Their aim was to raise $1200 to set one girl free. ‘We managed to raise $2400 which is an amazing effort by the community.’ This means that two girls were able to be freed from the sex trade industry. In addition to this the freed girls receive assistance with any medical needs, are provided safety homes and help to rebuild their lives. ‘With every girl that gets saved, the girl and the people who bought her go to court, [which means] more human traffickers get sent to jail, and it will begin to help change legislation in those countries.’
Whilst they all found the week to be extremely challenging, they highlight that they ‘managed to get through it with the support of our family, friends and God.’
For Lani ‘the most frustrating part of the whole experience was not having my phone or internet. Verbal communication was definitely hard for the first couple of days but I adjusted to that, it was more the fact that I could not text, email or facebook any of my friends that really got to me.’
For Tayla ‘the hardest part was definitely not being able to verbally communicate. We adjusted to it after a while, but there were still a lot of challenges, like not being able to have a decent conversation with our parents, not being able to communicate the little things in life and not being able to share my opinion.’
For Brittany ‘the most frustrating thing was being silent at places other than school, because the community did not know about the reason behind the mask, and I couldn’t tell them exactly either!’
In case there is any doubt, these are three remarkable young ladies. Reflecting on the week and what they learnt about themselves Lani says ‘It’s funny how in a week of being silent I learnt more about myself than I have my whole life. I am so ridiculously blessed with the life I have. My family and friends love me and are all so supportive, even when we couldn’t talk they kept filling my heart with positive and encouraging comments that made me keep going.’
So often, young people don’t see their potential to make a difference due to their youth or lack of financial resources. But anyone can say “here I am God, use me” and then respond in obedience when he takes you up on the offer. Well done girls for proving this point!