Monday, December 13, 2010

Guest Post from Author Judie Oron

Today, we have a great guest post by author Judie Oron:

In 2007, I interviewed Free the Children co-founder Craig Kielburger for a magazine article, and I’ve got to admit that I’ve been a total fan of the organization ever since. At the time, he told me that he’d been inspired by a newspaper story about the death of a former child slave in Pakistan. And there I was, talking to him about my own experience in freeing Wuditu--the real-life protagonist of Cry of the Giraffe--from slavery in Ethiopia.

Back then, I was just starting to write the book and struggling to do justice to Wuditu’s painful story. This October, things came full circle for me. At the Toronto Jewish Book Fair, Wuditu was standing beside me and I was listening with pride as she described the work she now does with people who’ve been traumatized in their own right.

Several weeks later, on December 9th, I was privileged to speak at a Free the Children ‘Lunch and Learn.’ I outlined the way in which Wuditu had fallen into slavery. It was a classic method--pretend that you’re hiring a servant; then, when the child is waiting to be paid their wages, explain that, rather than being owed money, they’ve fallen into debt and must work to pay it off.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed thinking about the other children out there in Wuditu’s former circumstances. I’m often asked, "What can we do?" I think that if we keep reading, keep caring and staying informed--not to mention informing others--we’ll have come a long way toward bringing this issue out of the dark and into the public forum.

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