Last year, I did a project with my students for the International Day of the Girl Child. The International Day of the Girl Child is held annually on October 11 and is a day meant to recognize girls’ voices and power. Its purpose is to make people more aware of girls’ position in the world by promoting girls’ rights for education, healthcare, and political involvement. For more information on International Day of the Girl Child, please visit: http://dayofthegirl.org/
For my project, I conducted a lesson on the current statistics of girls’ education. I demonstrated that many girls throughout the world are not only limited by an unequal education but are also sometimes denied this basic right. Currently, only about 30% of girls are enrolled in secondary schools. In several countries, girls are not allowed to receive the same education as boys. In 2012, the International Day of the Girl Child fell just shortly after Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban for standing up for girls’ rights for education. I hesitated about whether or not to share this information with my students, as I did not want to upset or scare them. However, I ultimately decided that it was important for them to know about it so that they could see just how much girls are oppressed. After doing this project in my classroom, my students were absolutely outraged. I encouraged them to write letters to the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI). As a result, three UNGEI consultants visited our school and interviewed my students. Their work is featured on the UNICEF website: http://www.educationandtransition.org/resources/students-from-the-bronx-global-learning-institute-for-girls-write-about-education-part-1-of-4/
The local news discovered this story and decided to come and interview my students and broadcast it on the local news. The news clip can be seen here: http://bronx.news12.com/news/bronx-global-learning-institute-for-girls-mails-letters-on-equality-to-the-united-nations-1.4631854
This is just one example of how children’s voices can make an impact. Never underestimate the power behind a child’s honesty, passion, and hope.