I feel very honoured to be part of the very first ever International Day of the Girl.
I heard of International Day of the Girl for the first time this morning. One of my friends on Facebook put up this link for a new website Too Young to Wed and it caught my attention as it had the picture of two eight-year old girls and their 29-year old husbands on its landing page. The subject stirs me every time, as you might already know if you have been following my blog for a while and read my review on a Thousand Splendid Suns and Harmattan.
So when an email came in shortly after from Mumsnet Bloggers regarding the International Day of the Girl I knew I had to tie these two separate events and write a post about girls who don’t have a voice or a choice. I did a bit of research and found a lot on the subject. I would like to mention here the very interesting project of 10×10 “a feature film, Girl Rising, and a social action campaign”as presented on their website and the Because I am a Girl campaign by the Plan that supports investment in girls’education.
I have a nearly three-year old girl. She has dreams already. Dreams of being a ballerina. And a teacher.
And we have dreams and desires for her. Dreams of Emma growing into a sensible and wise woman. We desire her to get into a good nursery, a school with dedicated teachers and later on a grammar school where she is encouraged to learn and reach her full academic potential. We dream of her going to university. We dream of her being loved and cherished by a man who will treat her with reverence and respect. We dream of Emma being happy and fulfilled in every possible way. But above all, we have dreams of her growing up to be what God has designed her to be: a ballerina or a teacher or a social worker and we commit to be here for her and support her whatever her dreams and desires will be.
I am writing on behalf of all the three-year olds whose lives have been set of a tangent they will have little say in choosing. Girls who are perceived as barter goods and sexual objects. Girls whose only precarious knowledge will be in reproduction and raising children while they are still children themselves. Girls for whom education will be a mythical concept and never a reality. Girls who will be always victims and never victors. Their reality is not our reality because we were lucky enough to be born in a “civilised” country where human rights are a given, not a chimera, a fanciful mental illusion or fabrication. Our hearts long to feel the fulfilment we were designed to feel when helping our fellow human being yet we live our lives too far removed from a reality that’s only 12 hours away from us by plane. These little girls, these rising generations need our help. What are we going to do about it?
a heart felt post, Oana. my heart goes to those girls , that have become victims of those horrific traditions.
Oana, you’ve written about a topic dear to me! I truly believe that a way to improve a community is to empower its women and girls. I highly recommend the book “Half the Sky,” written by two journalists who talk about early marriages like you said, sexual mutilation, sex trades, and so forth. These women and girls, often poor and uneducated and mostly in the third world, literally have no voice.
One of the best ways I recommend helping them is through microlending, like through Kiva, where people with means like ourselves lend money to women so that they can start their own businesses. The more self-sustaining and independent a woman is, the better educated her children become, the older they’ll be married, and the fewer children they’ll have. It’s truly amazing how a community can change simply by helping out its women and girls. Thanks for talking about this!
Nina, many, many thanks!!For the book and for the idea!You’re a star!xx