Today marks the second International day of the Girl Child with a special focus on educating girls.
Not so long ago I did a post on girl’s education on Malala Yousafzai day and just now Malala won The EU Shacharov prize for freedom of thought. And boy does she have a freethinking mind… What an advocate for girl’s education if there ever was one. So eloquent, outspoken, smart and honest. An inspirational girl to say the least.
An interview with Christiana Amanpour will be aired soon I think and a there are lots of incredible interviews and speeches by her to be found online. Christina Lamb helped write her book ‘I am Malala’ which I look forward to reading soon as well.
Girls in many countries are still unable to attend school and complete their education. And even when girls are in school, the quality of their education is often poor. There are no expectations for them to use their diploma if they ever finish school to get one and often their household responsibilities will keep them from attending their classes regularly …
Yet, education is key. Educate girls and women and you’ll better a whole society.
During all my travels this is exactly what I found and heard people say over and over again. It helps in reducing maternal mortality, it helps reduce poverty, …
To finish, I just want to share a couple of images of some of the amazing girls I met along my travels in the past few years. Sparkly, smart, funny, beautiful, moving and at times heartbreaking. All of them wonderful and each one touching my heart.
Happy international girls day everyone!
This is an image of an Afghan IDP (Internally displaced people) family living in the outskirts of Kabul. With the continued war and violence going on where they live, they decided to pack up their belongings and move to the ‘relative’ safety of the capital. The mud houses with plastic covers as roofs are warm and filled with flies. Dust everywhere. A small room of 3 by 5 meters is home to a family of 7…
Hoping to one day return back to their villages, they now live in horrible conditions and try to survive as best as they can. They men and boys try to find work as day laborers and the women take care of the children and food. School is only an option for some children and the quality of the schooling is not up to par at all…
The year 2011 was the most violent year since the collapse of the Taliban in 2001: the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) recorded a rise of 69 percent in security incidents in 2010; in 2011 it reported again a rise of 20 per cent in security incidents on top of the 2010 increase.37 This boils down to 2.000 incidents on a daily basis according to Unicef.
More suicide attacks, improvised explosive devices (IED’s), kidnappings and attacks on schools, health centres, etc… Consequences for children are huge and the caused trauma of living in a constant state of fear is immense. So many families choose to leave Afghanistan al together.
Just yesterday I saw an item on the Belgian news on rights of asylum seeking children or better said the lack thereof. Families and organizations protested and want the Belgian government to take the interests of children within asylum procedures into consideration so the children involved would get heard as well.
12 year old Amir has become the face of this protest with a letter he wrote in name of asylum seeking children who want to be listened to. Rightly so he asks in the news how it can be safe for children in Afghanistan, when it’s not even that for soldiers who can defend themselves.
16 year old Sonam rightly says that Afghanistan isn’t safe, especially for girls and women, who cannot go to school there and face various forms of gender based violence. Here she has already learned Dutch and some English and is getting opportunities she can only dream of in Afghanistan.
It’s appalling to hear that there is an article in the Belgian constitution on children’s rights, but that this doesn’t apply to children without official papers/permits who are in the asylum seeking procedure… And already Belgium has been reprimanded by the European Committee for social Rights about the way our country treats underaged asylum children.
So Amir and Sonam take to the streets, are demanding to be heard and continue to fight for their future with the hope of staying in Belgium.