The Story of Ubo

How I met Ubo

“I didn’t know I was so beautiful!” The words of Ubo still resonate in my heart. I still choke back tears thinking about the smile on her face. She looked into my digital camera after I took her picture. This little girl did not know what she looked like until that moment. It was 2008; Ubo was seven years old. Her mother worked several places as a maid, with Ubo by her side, and it so happened that they were both in Kofele at the same time that I was. Every day, she worked, churning milk into butter, sweeping floors, gathering and lighting charcoal for cooking and making coffee. She worked day in and day out. The degree of maturity and the responsibility she displayed was mindboggling. She was truly beautiful. Two years later, I went back to Ethiopia and went in search of Ubo. After a few days of searching, I got some terrible news; she had been raped. The rapist has since been caught, but the damage to this poor girl had already been done. Despite her suffering, Ubo is now going to school and leading normal life with a smile. The doctors checked her for fistula, a common plague in Kofele, and found that she is healthy. Ubo’s hard work, maturity and independence is something I’ll never forget. The pride she exuded when she recognized her own beauty not only inspired me, it mobilized me. I was going to help this girl. There are so many children out there like her. We cannot help all of them, but we are committed to changing lives like hers one small step at a time. Ubo is the embodiment of Tangible Hope. She is beautiful. She is special.

I didn’t know I was so beautiful!