Home. Four tiny letters that, like love, we take for granted until they're gone. But what does home mean to girls around the world?
For nine-year-old Hailey Fort, home is about providing the homeless with shelter and food. She raises money, collects clothing, toiletries, and feminine hygiene products, and is now growing food to distribute. The shelters she builds are mobile so their occupants can move them if needed. Some Justice Girls don't let their age stop them from doing something RIGHT NOW to help others.
Imagine losing not only your home but your country. This is precisely what has happened to the girls living in Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. Syrian refugee girls envision their futures in an act of courage and hope. Girls see futures as doctors, teachers, photographers, and yes - as an astronaut. Malala Yousafzai commented in her book, I Am Malala (Young Readers Edition), about how much she missed her home in Pakistan. Sometimes Justice Girls have to build new homes in new places.
Eleven-year-old Dasani finds refuge from life in a New York shelter in school - and her imagination. Will she persevere or will she remain just another "invisible child" - and invisible girl? For too many Justice Girls home is not an easy place to live.
Home is certainly a place; a shelter to safely protect you from the elements and harm. Home is also something more to many people. It is a country or community. It involves relationships and identity. Refugees have lost both their physical shelters and their countries. The homeless, too, have lost their shelter but also the communities they once inhabited.
Justice Girls make a difference for the homeless in many ways. Being mindful of the blessings of one's own home is one way. Justice Girls don't simply look away or feel guilty about homelessness. Instead, they act in small ways and large. Raising awareness through school projects is one way, as is collecting food, toiletries, and clothing for the homeless in one's community. Justice Girls also help themselves if they are homeless. Their courage and hope each day are enough.
Ultimately, Justice Girls find that home lies within themselves. From this place of security, comes the power and courage to face everything else.