I think it is virtually impossible to read about the various projects listed on the Girls Not Brides website without feeling driven to help in some way. This wonderful charity works diligently to educate and assist young women in developing countries. In these impoverished societies the female children are normally affected to a far greater degree then males. Many suffer levels of abuse that are difficult to conceive and girls as young as 9 years old are frequently sold into marriage.
The charity Girls Not Brides is an international organization comprised of several projects. In many ways it can be difficult to choose among them when so much help is so desperately needed among all. However, each individual venture is described in detail, complete with pictures of the girls enrolled and some of their own personal stories. Updates are occasionally sent which help to instill hope for the women currently in the program along with hope that the cultural mindsets within these regions will gradually shift toward a healthier direction.
One friend of mine, Ericka Hoffmann, was inspired to contribute to the cause through her own creativity. Ericka is an accomplished photographer with a long history of shooting both film and digitally. She is a strong proponent of women’s rights with a vibrant personality eager to aid these vulnerable and underprivileged girls in her own small way.
Ericka is eager to raise money to support Girls Not Brides but also to help locally with a Virginia based organization. She has elected to support The Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley as well. They help women in need of assistance through every step of the process toward leading a healthy life free from abuse. From education to legal and medical help, the Women’s Resource Center is available to all who reside in the NRV.
Ericka’s initial interest in photography was evoked at a young age as she grew up in the small southern IL town of Grafton. The splendor of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, limestone bluffs, and surrounding country of her childhood stomping grounds filled her with the desire to capture these moments on film. Her artistic parents nurtured this fascination encouraging her to continually observe the world and its various perspectives. They soon purchased the family’s first 35mm SLR camera, which quickly became Ericka’s constant companion.
As the years progressed her experience broadened. During her higher education at Webster University in St. Louis she was accepted into an internship for medical photography. Here, her skills in macro photography were motivated and honed. Alternately, hobbies such as her avid participation in caving led to challenging photography sessions in “wild” caves. These situations often involved a lot of mud and no installed artificial lighting, consequently forcing her to use several-second exposures, multiple flash units, and assistants who fired flashes.
Ericka continues to revel in nature, shooting various critters, landscapes and anything that might strike her fancy. She chose one of her favorite shots to sell on behalf of Girls Not Brides and the Women’s Resource Center. It measures 16” X 20” OD with a double mat. All profits will be split between the two charities. Her stunning artwork will not only provide an ideal artistic touch to any room, but purchasing it will also help to change lives and instill hope in those in desperate need!
The charities that will benefit are
Girls Not Brides project: Empower 5000 drop out Adolescent Girls in Lucknow, by Sarathi Development Foundation
Women’s Resource Center of the NRV
We are happy to report that the Madagascar Day Gecko has sold!