By Effie Rolfe
Special to the NNPA from The Chicago Crusader

“So Much to be Grateful” for is a song recorded by Chicago’s Grammy nominated and Stellar Award winner Calvin Bridges. This song came to mind as I watched a documentary, Half the Sky, on one of my favorite TV channels, WTTW. The program was based on the self titled book and turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide. Generally, I don’t like to watch shows displaying hunger, lack and poverty especially when kids are lying in dirt encircled by flies suffering from malnutrition and multiple illnesses.

All this does is make my compassionate heart—tear up even more. Actually, what drew me to the picture was Gabrielle Union, Meg Ryan and a few other actresses participating in the documentary. The show focused on beautiful young girls throughout Africa and Asia being raped as young as two and a half years old by relatives, with devastating consequences of permanent physical, emotional scars and soul ties.

While watching, I discovered that education is still very difficult and distant for the girls, leaving a future filled with working in the fields to care for the family, married at a young age, being a victim of slave trafficking and prey to repeated rape.

In Cambodia, a woman once sold to a brothel said by the time the girls are 12 to 14 years of age they are considered too old to work there. One girl about 10 years old rides her bike 17 miles each day, which is the equivalent of 2 hours through dangerous swamp, fields and rural areas to get to school. I thought about how as an adult in America, we sometimes scoff at walking from the parking lot to the store. Yet, 200 million girls wake up each day with no opportunity to get an education.

It reminded me of when I was working with Compassion International and discovered shockingly that 1.5 billion people live on less that $1.25 a day. This translates to about 1 in every 5 persons. As we approach the holiday season, preparing to spend 12 hours in line waiting to be among the first shoppers in the store, let’s also think about how we can share a fraction of our time and money with some little girl helping to educate her, get a decent meal or even a glass of clean water.

My point of emphasis is that we have so much to be grateful for, yet we fail to pause and realize the many blessings staring us in the face. Those blessings are due in part to the fact that we are protected by human rights. It’s been said, teach a man, you teach an individual—teach a woman, you teach the world. Little girls really want an opportunity to just grow up, go to school and do things that others take for granted. This holiday season, my hope is that God will give us hearts of love and a will to bless those less fortunate with a prayer, a letter, a greeting card, a phone call, good thoughts, long life and even a smile. God help us…to see what you have done as we shout, Thank You Lord!

What things are you grateful for…?

©Effie Rolfe is the author of “Supersize Your Thinking,” a Media Personality and Motivational Speaker. You can visit my website: or follow me at