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Forgotten Girls: Stories of Hope and Courage

by Kay Marshall Strom and Michele Rickett

Forgotten Girls is a collection of brief, yet poignantly written, vignettes depicting the often harrowing lives of girls in the Majority World.

InterVarsity Press. P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515, 192 pages, 2009, $16.00.

Reviewed by Rhonda M. McEwen, Ph.D., Cook School of Intercultural Studies, Biola University, La Mirada, California.

Women and girls make up eighty percent of the world’s refugees, seventy percent of the poorest of the poor, two-thirds of the world’s illiterate, and eighty percent of those who have never heard of Christ. Look closely at the world’s most oppressed, and you will find them to be overwhelmingly female. Forgotten Girls is a collection of brief, yet poignantly written, vignettes depicting the often harrowing lives of girls in the Majority World. More than just a collection of stories, this book also serves as a call for action. Statistics are interspersed, reflecting the enormity of the situation and demanding a response. Forgotten Girls compels readers to listen to these rarely heard voices.

This deceptively “easy read” has potential for enormous impact if we heed its message. Co-author Kay Marshall Strom writes, “We have the privilege of being those heralds inviting people to join the resistance and intervene for the most vulnerable human beings on the planet: little girls.” This is the impetus behind these stories—to follow the biblical injunction to “speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves” (Prov. 31:8-9).

Each of the five sections—Physical Life, Educational Life, Sexual Protection for Life, Freedom in Life, and Spiritual Life—has a different emphasis. Yet many of the themes are intertwined, reflecting the holistic nature of poverty which impacts body, mind, soul, and spirit. Without taking an explicitly theological tone, these stories, based upon factual events, are a vivid portrayal of the transformative power of God when one’s potential is realized as having inherent dignity and value.  

One downside is that the inspirational suggestions for action are mostly focused on the individual. A greater focus could have been given to the corporate role of God’s people, his Church, and our responsibility to actively engage with the “least of these.” Also, a more extensive bibliography, including suggested books, articles, and multi-media resources for further research and education, would be helpful.

The authors write of this book: “…you will encounter suffering. But don’t turn away because of the pain. Beyond the abuse and oppression, past the awfulness and neglect, you will catch glimpses of glorious dignity and staggering resilience of remarkable potential and untold value. In these girls you will see the sparkle of hope and promise of the future.” Forgotten Girls would be a stimulating educational tool for a small group study or Sunday school class and is also suitable for young adults.

Check this title:
Kilbourn, Phyllis, ed. 2008. Shaping the Future: Girls and Our Destiny. Pasadena, Calif.: William Carey Library.

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EMQ, Vol. 46, No. 2, pp. 246. Copyright  © 2010 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS).  All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS. 

 

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