I was introduced to Atsikana Pa Ulendo in 2009, when I was asked by Roberta Laurie, the other half of Prairie Dog Publishing, to help the Rotary Club market for Memory and Christie’s tour. I had heard Memory speak the year before, and I remember being shocked when she read off the statistics of what a young girl living in Malawi’s life would be like without an education. As I looked around the room of more than a hundred people I thought, none of us ever have to worry about being married at fourteen, a fear of exploitation, no rights, and the great possibility of getting HIV/AIDS.
These issues are not a part of our culture in Canada. Whether male or female you have the choice of education, the freedom to vote, the voice to speak out against sexual harassment and assault.
These girls have none of those things.
It broke my heart. I wanted to help make a difference and so Roberta and I brainstormed for a way to do so. When Roberta traveled to Malawi with the intention of asking for stories from the girls, I knew there was a chance she wouldn’t be able to get them. The girls were busy with their studies and chores at the school. But when she returned with a brief case full of the girls hand written stories I knew this book was going to be completed.
With compassion and excitement we were able to mould this project into what it is today. Throughout the year we’ve put countless hours into edits, proofreading, layout, and the marketing of this book so that we may evoke passion within you, our readers.
Even though I’ve never met these girls, I am proud of each of them. They have beaten the odds; they have overcome discrimination, while holding their heads high. Within this book, the girls of Atsikana Pa Ulendo, have given us a gift. Through their own words they have allowed us a glimpse into who they are.
Our mission at Prairie Dog Publishing is to change the world one book at a time, and this book has changed me. It has opened my eyes to the problems within our world. I only hope In Their Own Words; The Girl’s of Atsikana Pa Ulendo Tell Their Stories, will change you too.
AVAILABLE OCTOBER 2, 2011
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book will go to Atsikana Pa Ulendo.
Prairie Dog Publishing