As the mother of five girls living in the United States, I feel very blessed – from birth, my daughters have had access to education, health care and running water. They can choose to go on to college, to pursue a traditional career, to be a stay-at-home mom, or to break outside the box. They can choose if and when and where and who they marry. They can reach for a multitude of life’s adventures, and they are hindered only by their own fears, insecurities, and the practical limitations of middle class life. In short, they are free to follow the inspirations of their hearts.
I want to take this moment today to share with you the first International Day of the Girl Child, with the hope that it will remind you (as it does me) that as citizens of this planet, we have a responsibility to help, to support, and to empower all of our children.
I posted the following link on my Facebook page this morning: Sihiba on Pinterest
Soon after, a dear friend shared it on hers, and to her posting came this response: “She has the internet, a camera, and posts pictures on pinterest? heart wrenching, but someone else is using her for some reason.”
Here is the reason: (Please take three minutes to watch this video, created by the African Medical and Research Foundation.)
Of course they are using Sihiba. They are using her to make a point, to make people think, to raise awareness. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think about the plight of Tanzanian child-moms on a daily basis. Or what my responsibility to them is as a fellow human being. They are using her to make us think. And possibility act by encouraging governments to act. They are using her to give people HOPE.
From the Day of the Girl website ~
There are a billion reasons why we need the Day of the Girl, but let’s start with just a few facts:
- ILLITERACY – By 2015, females will make up 64% of the world’s (adult) population who cannot read.
- SCHOOL DROPOUT – Only 30% of girls in the world are enrolled in secondary school. In America, the dropout rate is worse for boys but one in four girls does not finish high school, and the dropout rate is even higher for minorities.
- FORCED MARRIAGE – One in seven girls in developing countries is married off before age 15.
- VIOLENCE – In the US more than half (54%) of all rapes of females happen before age 18. One in 5 high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner. Worldwide children as young as age 11 are forced to work as prostitutes. Some estimates have as many as 1.2 million children being trafficked every year.
- BODY IMAGE – More than half (54%) of 3rd-5th grade girls worry about their appearance and 37% worry about their weight. More than half (57%) of music videos feature a female portrayed exclusively as a decorative, sexual object.
And to all girls (and women) everywhere – You are STRONG. You are CAPABLE. You are BEAUTIFUL. You are WORTH IT!