I have always loved pink. Pink clothes, pink walls, pink cars, anything pink. From this love of all things pink, early on my mother began referring to me as her “pink girl”. When I turned thirteen, my parents took me to Ethiopia to broaden my perspective. Having spent most of my life in the resort like setting of Orange County, California, they wanted to insure that their compassionate daughter stayed just that, compassionate. While there, I was able to meet people from various walks of life–pastors, government officials, missionaries, farmers and students. I was emotionally moved by many experiences but one particular moment took this eighth grader by surprise. While touring a local high school I learned two important facts: First, in Ethiopia, students are taught all their lessons in English. Second, the teachers taught and the students learned without the aid of books and this particular school had a library with two book cases – empty book cases. When I returned home I asked the families at my school to donate gently used books and about five thousand pleasure books and text books were donated. Returning three years later, I was so pleased to see that the books had made it not just into that school but those books were distributed to three schools in this community.
On my third trip to Ethiopia I toured the local Fistula hospital, attended a conference for women and was given a tour of Bahir Dar University by one of the few female Ethiopian university professors who has become a dear friend. When I learned the process for Ethiopian students to make it to the universities, I thought about my own experience trying to prepare for my upcoming college application and was grateful that I have had access to tutors along the way, helping insure my understanding of the subjects. This is where Pink Girl was born. Knowing there is “Power in Knowledge” I understood that a solid education would give young Ethiopian women the power for a life outside of poverty. With the help of our dear family friend Julie Field and local Ethiopian friends, girls longing for a chance at a college education were found, teachers hired and classrooms secured. Within a few short months the original “pink girl” had a lot of new Pink Girl friends.