A letter to my daughter on International Women's Day

CARE International’s Rose Ejuru in South Sudan

What would you say to your daughter on International Women’s Day?

In South Sudan, CARE International’s Rose Ejuru wrote this letter to her daughter Desire Caroline that we are happy to share with you.

8 March 2015
Mayom County,
Unity State, South Sudan

My dearest Desire Caroline,

Happy International Women’s Day. You are only two years old so it doesn’t mean so much to you now. I hope it will in the future, as it will for all women here in South Sudan.

I pray that the South Sudan you grow up in will be a country of peace. This conflict we find ourselves in is ripping us apart. We struggled, for so long, to be our own nation and now look at us. We are living in fear, and we are destroying ourselves.

As your mother I promise to love you and to care for you. Most of all I promise to educate you, as my mother did me. She was one of more than 11 wives. I have a twin brother but my father believed twins of different sexes was a bad omen, so he chased us away.

My mother had no education, but she made sure to send me to school. I was on and off in the classroom because we couldn’t always afford school fees. But she would scrape that cash together and make sure I was educated. After school I did my nurse’s training. I became a midwife so I could help other women. Right now I’m finishing my degree in Public Health, one day I will have a PhD.

Education is your key, without it you will struggle – for knowledge, for independence, for your health, for everything. Your education it will empower you, it will give you strength. With it, you will know your rights, make your own decisions. It will help you through the difficult times. It will give you a voice, and it will make sure it’s heard. When you have daughters of your own, invest in them the same way, they will be your greatest joy.

Identify your dreams and follow them. I fear that what often destroys us as women is we feel we’re defeated but we’re not. If you fall down, don’t stay there – wake up and keep moving.

The things I see in my work at CARE, I don’t want this to be your life. Women who suffer from having too many children and not enough healthcare. Women stolen in cattle raids or beaten by their husbands.

What will this country be like in ten years? In twenty years when you are a grown woman? I wish I knew. I pray that that we are together again as one nation. I pray for stability, and for South Sudan to be a country where women can speak up and not be ashamed. I pray that you and I are both here to make it so.

Happy International Women’s Day my dearest Caroline. Be proud to be a woman in South Sudan.

Learn more about why CARE believes that women and girls are the key to overcoming global poverty.