Tag Archives: Equal rights

International day of the girl child

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!

Mehmooda bites her hand. Karachi, Pakistan, 2010   © Wendy Marijnissen

Mehmooda bites her hand. Karachi, Pakistan, 2010
© Wendy Marijnissen

Girls running and playing in the backyard of the Arushi Shelter. New Delhi, India, 2009 © Wendy Marijnissen

Girls running and playing in the backyard of the Arushi Shelter. New Delhi, India, 2009
© Wendy Marijnissen

Shabana (not her real name) leans against her mothers' back.  Raped by her brother-in-law when she was 4 years old, she is both emotionally and physically scarred.  Afraid of the stigma involved surrounding rape victims, the family settled out of court and the rapist didn't go to jail. Around 15% of survivors of sexual abuse in Pakistan are between the ages of 6 and 11 years old.  Over 55% of the survivors are younger then 18 years old. Pakistan, 2011 © Wendy Marijnissen

Shabana (not her real name) leans against her mothers’ back.
Raped by her brother-in-law when she was 4 years old, she is both emotionally and physically scarred. Afraid of the stigma involved surrounding rape victims, the family settled out of court and the rapist didn’t go to jail.
Around 15% of survivors of sexual abuse in Pakistan are between the ages of 6 and 11 years old.
Over 55% of the survivors are younger then 18 years old. Pakistan, 2011
© Wendy Marijnissen

A girl cries after a fight over water in the tent camp for flood victims in Kamari town.  Shortage of food and water often causes tension among the people living in the camps as they fight over goods for the survival of their families. Karachi, Pakistan, 2010 © Wendy Marijnissen

A girl cries after a fight over water in the tent camp for flood victims in Kamari town.
Shortage of food and water often causes tension among the people living in the camps as they fight over goods for the survival of their families. Karachi, Pakistan, 2010
© Wendy Marijnissen

MP Ms. Fawzia Koofi plays with a child in between meetings held in her family home in Faizabad. Badakshan, Afghanistan, 2012 © Wendy Marijnissen

MP Ms. Fawzia Koofi plays with a child in between meetings held in her family home in Faizabad. Badakshan, Afghanistan, 2012
© Wendy Marijnissen

'My troubles started the year my father died. I was six years old'. Rehan (not her real name) ran away from home after her uncle tried to force her to marry his son. After an initial mediation session and the promise the engagement was off, she returned home and was locked up and beaten and about to married of to her cousin yet again. She was able to escape, annule the engagement and now lives in a safehouse run by human rights organization Women for Afghan Women that help in situations like hers. Kabul, Afghanistan, 2012. © Wendy Marijnissen

‘My troubles started the year my father died. I was six years old’. Rehan (not her real name) ran away from home after her uncle tried to force her to marry his son. After an initial mediation session and the promise the engagement was off, she returned home and was locked up and beaten and about to married of to her cousin yet again. She was able to escape, annule the engagement and now lives in a safehouse run by human rights organization Women for Afghan Women that help in situations like hers. Kabul, Afghanistan, 2012.
© Wendy Marijnissen

Children are playing in the backyard of the Edward Said Musical Kindergarten. Besides the normal day care and play, the children already get musical appreciation classes. Ramallah, Palestine, 2006 © Wendy Marijnissen

Children are playing in the backyard of the Edward Said Musical Kindergarten. Besides the normal day care and play, the children already get musical appreciation classes. Ramallah, Palestine, 2006
© Wendy Marijnissen

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International day of the Girl

Yesterday was the first every International day of the Girl, a day to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. And isn’t that anno 2012 about time…? This year’s theme was all about ending Child marriage.

© Wendy Marijnissen

Every year 10 million girls under the age of 18 become child brides, many girls often even under the age of 16… The girls will be denied to remain children, often stop school and become pregnant very quickly with often disastrous results… In developing countries around 14 million girls between the age of 15-19 give birth, and are twice as likely to die of pregnancy-related complications during childbirth.

© Wendy Marijnissen

At birth a boy is still preferred over a girl. A boy will get better food and a better chance to an education. Girls are taken away from their families after marriage and often fall victim to abuse by their family-in-law. This horrible gender inequality should be stopped and hopefully this Day of the Girl Child will raise awareness.

And even though we in the West often take our rights for granted, we still have a long way to go to equal rights for girls and boys, men and women. Just two days ago a young Pakistani girl named Malala Yousafzai was gunned down by the local Taliban because she spoke up for her right to go to school.

To end off, do check out the incredible work colleague Stephanie Sinclair did on Child brides for National Geographic. For years she has been committed to document this difficult and emotional subject.  The recent video she made about a young child bride Destaye is heartbreaking…Do take a moment to see it.

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