Charley Project travels

Next month and the month after that I will be representing the Charley Project at two missing persons events: Wisconsin’s second annual missing persons awareness event in Green Bay on April 24 (I went last year, you might recall), and the fifth annual National Missing Children’s Day Commemoration in Tumwater, Washington on May 15. I’ll get a chance to meet the families of the missing, and meet new people and explain what I do.

I’m going to Wisconsin by myself. Dad can’t go due to work obligations and the other person I asked also couldn’t go. So it’ll be just me. I’ll drive — it’s about seven hours. Traveling alone is a bit riskier for me than it is for other people, but this will just be an overnight trip so I think I’ll manage fine.

Michael will be accompanying me to Washington state. Of course we’ll be flying. I haven’t flown anywhere since 2009. I’ve also never been west of the Mississippi before.

And herein lies the reason for this entry: although I am definitely going to both of these events (barring unforeseen circumstances like appendicitis or something), it’s going to be expensive, particularly the Washington trip.

If any of you can find it in your hearts (and bank accounts) to donate a bit to Charley’s PayPal account to defray the cost of gas, hotels, etc., I would be extremely grateful.

MP of the week: Amira Mubarak

The featured missing person for this week is Amira Farooq Mubarak, an eleven-month-old girl who was abducted from Manhattan by her non-custodial father on August 5, 2000. I think Amira is breathtakingly cute in those photos. Those big, bright brown eyes are stunning. My dear friend Annie Keller’s site For the Lost, which is a great resource for family abduction cases especially, has a little bit more info than I do in its profile for Amira. It says she and her father may be traveling a green 1992 Lexus and may be in either Canada or in Pakistan. Her father, Muhammad Farooq Butt, is of Pakistani descent, though I don’t know if he was actually born there. I’ll have to update her case with the For the Lost info.

I really hope Amira is in Canada and not Pakistan, which is one of the poorest nations in the world and not a great place for girls. Although marriage is illegal in Pakistan for girls under 16 and boys under 18, child marriage for girls is pretty common regardless, and a proposed law raising the marriageable age to 18 for both sexes was roundly rejected in 2014. Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology believes that girls as young as 9 ought to be allowed to marry in some cases. Honor killing is also an issue there.

Amira is now 16. Her case is one of the older family abduction cases on Charley, and as she was less than a year old at the time of her abduction, she won’t remember her mother or other left-behind relatives. Who knows what, if anything, she’s been told about them. I hope she’s happy and healthy, wherever she is, and I hope she will be reunited with her searching family someday. Perhaps social media can help. I know of many cases where searching parents have found their lost children on Facebook and have been able to at least start a relationship with them.