The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030
International Day of the Girl Child (#DayoftheGirl) is celebrated annually on October 11 to highlight issues concerning the gender inequality facing young girls. This year’s theme was “The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030.”
There are nearly 600 million girls aged 10 to 19 in the world today, each with limitless individual potential, however they are disappearing from public awareness and the international development agenda. Between inequities in secondary education to protection issues, adolescent girls are uniquely impacted and should benefit from targeted investments and programmes that address their distinct needs. Investing in adolescent girls can have a formidable ripple effect to create a better world by 2030. It’s in our hands to empower adolescent girls with the knowledge, skills and options they need to reach their potential.
On 11th of October 2015, we the WoMoz of Uttar Pradesh celebrated International Day of the Girl, a day when the world comes together to address the challenges that girls and young women face everyday. So we decided to make this day count. This was not a planned event, it was like a day before I just got an idea to do something on this day. I immedaitely picked up my cell and dropped a msg to the WoMoz of Uttar Pradesh. Since, this was a last minute plan so I expected the least number of participation but 4/7 WoMozUP agreed to join me for the cause. I immediately assigned the task to be done. Sneh, one of the active WoMoz of our community took the task to speak to an Ngo/orphanage/shelter home of adolescent girls and made sure that it is done. Jyotsna started designing the cover pic for the #dayofthegirl. Everyone was excited and was fully involved in doing their respective tasks. I started working on the agenda and the planning of what to do the next day. While working on the agenda suddenly somthing flashed across my mind and it was the thought by Nelson Mandella, “It is through Education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor.”
The best way to empower a girl is through education! “Education is Lifesaving.” If you want to change the world, invest in an adolescent girl. An adolescent girl stands at the doorway of adulthood. If she stays in school, remains healthy, and gains real skills, she will marry later, have healthier children and earn an income she will invest back into her family.
• Girls are 6x times less likely to get married as children if they have access to secondary schooling.
• In India, only 1 in 100 girls reaches class 12
• If India enrolled 1% more girls in secondary school, its GDP would rise by $5.5 billion
We decided to educate them, motivate them, empower them and help them in developing the right set of skills they need. We were all set for the day. This was another #WoMozUP initiative to celebrate the International day of the girl child. We reached the shelter home by 4 and started to interact with the girls since they were feeling timid. We made the girls comfortable by talking to them in person and then later asked them to sit in a semi-circle. I started the session by asking them what is so special about the event? As expected the answer was, “Sunday”. The girls didn’t know what was so special about the day. I started the session by telling them what is so special about the day, why are we here and what we want from the girls to do after we leave. After a short intro about the day, I began to talk about the Women leaders who are changing the world and helping shape the future of girls. I could see the the exhilaration in the eyes of the adoloscent girls as I was sharing the motivational stories. They all were content to listen to the stories of the young women leaders and we could see that they aspire to be like them. Now it was time for the girls to tell about themselves and what they wish to become. They started opening up by telling us their name and shared their abmbition with us. I was amazed to listen that more than 50% of the girls want to be a Doctor or Engineer. After knowing their ambition and desire I shared the importance of education is our life and how it is lifesaving. I told them how power of education helps us in fighting with every difficulty and challenges.
Subsequent to the knowledge, I asked them to draw something based on this year’s theme, “The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030.” Sejal, helped the girls in the drawing activity. Jyotsna was the photographer for the day. The incredible pics which we see is clicked by Jyotsna. Sneh very well managed the logistics and made it possible for us to do this session.
Special thanks to the WoMoz of Uttar Pradesh for showing up at the last minute and made this event successful. It would have been impossible without the help of the awesome Women of Mozilla Uttar Pradesh.