Tag Archives: IDG 2014

CHARGE Promises Education to 14 Million Girls

unnamed-1Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State and Julia Gillard, former Australian Prime Minister announced a new partnership to enhance global education for girls. This program, CHARGE, (the Collaborative for Harnessing Ambition and Resources for Girls Education) has procured $600 million dollars that will go towards the education of 14 million girls.

When discussing the upcoming role of CHARGE, Gillard told TIME magazine:

unnamed“I think across the world, as we talk about women in developing countries, there’s been increasing recognition that empowering women and girls is a key change agent for development…[recent history has] powerfully remind us that in some parts of the world, getting an education is still a very dangerous thing for a girl.” (Dockterman)


With this in mind, CHARGE has set five goals to help girls with their education:


  1. To keep girls in school
  2. To ensure school safety and security
  3. To improve quality of learning for girls,
  4. To support transitions from and out of school and lastly,
  5. To support girls’ education as leaders and workers in developing countries.

With this program working to aid in the sustainable education for girls globally, the near future seems hopeful and prosperous.


Perfect Enough to be a Girl

anjali pic1Stories of Me, By: Anjali, 15 years, Canada

They say that as you grow older your eyes become smaller and smaller in proportion to your face. I wonder if as we grow old we start to see less and less of what really matters in proportion to everything else.

When I looked in the mirror at age five, all I saw was me as a whole. I would wave into the mirror and tilt my head back and forth in pure awe of my sheer existence. When I was eight, I played with my Barbie dolls, making them go on adventures in my older brother’s trucks. After all, my imagination showed me galaxies more than I could find in any reflection.

At around age ten, I started to look into the mirror as I brushed my teeth. I would stare so deep into my own eyes that I wouldn’t feel like myself anymore and instead feel like a stranger. The fact that I had a conscience inside me that I couldn’t see was terrifying and I would quickly finish brushing and run out.

Maybe that is why at twelve years old I started to notice how not-white my teeth were. I saw how my curls had transformed into a frizzy tangle that I tied back into a ponytail. My cheeks were balloons that hid my eyes when I laughed.anjali pic2

At thirteen I saw bushy eyebrows and dark elbows. I convinced my mother to let me come with her when she bought my clothes. The list could go on and on.

At fifteen, I realized that everyone has their insecurities. I still cried about it but I knew that the girl with the gorgeous hair wished she was better at math and the smart girl wished people did not judge her for raising her hand every time. I thought about all this and did not know if it should make me feel better or stuck.

Suddenly I was spiraling backwards to my eight year old self frightened by the stranger in the mirror. Who was I really? No amount of makeup could hide how vulnerable I was. I had this hyperactive desire to be the tomboy my father wanted me to be, the studious girl that colleges were looking to see, and the pretty girl in the hallway. It felt like I was in Grand Central Station not exactly sure which train I was looking for.

Currently, I am sitting down on the bench watching everyone bustling onto their trains busily. I am the girl whose heart melts just knowing that the movie will have a fairytale ending. I am the girl who enjoys playing video games with her brother. I am the girl who could spend the whole day reading in bed.

Right now, it is perfectly enough to be that girl. One day I will find the train to take me to my calling. One day I will look in the mirror and see everything that I have built for myself underneath the blemishes.

My Story of Speaking Out

Kehkashan - IDG pic 5Learning to Speak Out, By: Kehkashan, 15 years, United Arab of Emirates

I was born on 5th June which is, coincidentally, World Environment Day and thus I feel that it was pre-ordained that I should grow up to be an eco-warrior.

On my 8th birthday, my mother revealed this extraordinary coincidence to me and it motivated me to plant my first tree to mark this occasion. Since then, there has been no looking back and my journey as an environmental activist has transcended from a local level to the international forum and resulted in me being elected as the Global Coordinator for Children and Youth at UNEP, making me the youngest person and the only minor to hold this position.

Kehkashan - IDG pic 1Being a girl child from a developing nation, I feel that my election will pave the way for other young girls to break down barriers and reach levels which have not been achieved before. However, my journey has not been without challenges. Enroute, I have had to face threats in the form of cyberbullying.

I have encountered nasty messages and malicious emails from unexpected quarters which have maligned me. At first, I was confused and afraid because I always thought the world to be full of good people. I had read about cyberbullying in books and never imagined that I would be a victim.

My parents and friends are my greatest support and they advised me to stand up against it and speak about it openly. Bullies are essentially cowards and they back off when confronted. It was still a difficult choice for me since I am still very young but I decided to face this threat squarely.

I spoke about it in a newspaper interview organised by a support group which tackles such issues. I also spoke about it on television. As a youth leader I felt it was my responsibility to lead the way not only on environmental matters but also on other social issues which affect the progress of the girl child. I received tremendous messages of support for speaking out against this evil and it has made me a stronger and more confident individual.Kehkashan - IDG pic 4

Gender bias and inequality are challenges which have confronted the girl child for centuries. Change will not happen on its own. It would be naïve to be believe that someone else will do it for us. Our destiny lies in our hands and we must unite and forge our own path towards emancipation and equality.

Girls & Family

All Over Again, By: Shirleyka, Haita and USA

Unknown-1The day before my departure from Haiti was my mom’s birthday. My mother became pregnant and gave birth to my baby brother two months after the earthquake devastated my country. Just as I started to bond with my baby brother, I had to move to New York. My dad wanted me to come live with him here so he could get to know me better. I’d only seen him one time since I was four years old.

The afternoon before I left, my mom’s forehead was creased all day long, signaling her unhappiness. By the look on her face, I could tell that that was her saddest birthday. My youngest and coolest aunt, Eleanor pulled me aside and told me that while I was away saying goodbye to my friends, my mom had burst out in tears. “Alright boo! I’ll try to calm her down.” I replied as I headed for the living room.

I spoke to my mom, trying to calm her down, but I ended up crying too. Now that we were going to be apart, the time seemed to fly by so fast. I had never felt that emptiness ever in my life before. I went to bed that night with a terrible headache and a sticky face. My mom came and sat beside me on the bed quietly. She did not say anything, not even a word, so I just lay face down on my pillow.

I woke up in the middle of the night to the sobbing sound of my mother next to me. “You haven’t gotten any sleep at all!” I exclaimed. From that moment on, everything my mom said just broke my heart more and more. Whenever I looked at her, I felt like someone was pulling my heart out of my chest. I became paralyzed from internal pain for a moment.

UnknownThe next morning, we got ready to go to the airport. I went to say bye to my grandma, aunties, and cousins. The moment had finally arrived for me to depart. My mom and I got into the car that picked us up to go to the airport. When we arrived at the airport, at the entrance, we embraced each other. She said, “I will always adore you, my baby!” I looked deep into her eyes and replied, “I know mom! I will love you for infinity!” She managed to give me a smile, despite her sadness. I smiled back, trying to restrain the tears forming in my eyes. When I got to my gate, all I did was cry, recalling childhood memories with her. I remembered her teaching me how to cook in the kitchen. I remembered us eating ice cream on the beach, and joking around.

Four hours later, I finally woke up when the plane was landing. The view of New York from the plane was magnificent. Lights were shining everywhere and the ocean bordered the land so delightfully. That’s when I first saw the city that never sleeps. I was so amazed by the view. That was the best memory of my journey. I saw the city in which I would be starting my new life, for the worse or the better. New York would be my new home, my new territory to pursue my dreams and build a future.

Girls Freedom in Afghanistan

UNI58412-600x340Freedom, By: Shahida

Freedom means to me that I can go everywhere and do everything.  I can wear what I want to wear, I can see what I want to see, I can watch what I want to watch and I can play football and volleyball.  I think I have more freedom than other Afghan girls, because my family doesn’t keep me in a cage…I am uncaged.  They let me study, play and wear what I want.  Sometimes this freedom makes life harder for me.  My cousins, uncles and aunts don’t like me studying or playing with boys.  I can tell that it makes them angry by the way they act and the things they say to me.  I talk to them and tell them, “I need to be free.  My mother and father support me so that shouldn’t disturb you.”

Because I am free, I can learn to speak several languages.  I speak Dari at school, Pashtu at home, Urdu at home with my uncle, Arabic at school to learn Holy Koran, and I am learning to speak English at SOLA.  Because I am free, I can communicate with people around the world.  I have a gmail account and I SKYPE with friends who live in Vermont, New York, Boston, Pennsylvania, Utah, Nashville and Sweden.  I know how to research topics on the Internet.  Because I am free, I decided not to fast for a few days during Ramadan because I was ill.  When I felt better then I fasted.

I am free to choose my future, but there are people who say I should, shouldn’t, shouldn’t.  They say I shouldn’t state my needs.  They say I shouldn’t raise my voice and say how much freedom I have because I might be kidnapped by people who don’t approve of my studying and becoming educated.  Some people say my father shouldn’t let me go to school or go outside of the house.  They say I shouldn’t seek an education because someone might throw acid on my face.

I am still afraid, sometimes, to demand my freedom but not so much anymore.  If I work my whole life to get freedom, I know one day I will have it. I want to be happy and live happily.  If I work hard then one day I will get to my goal.  Being scared to work for freedom because some people disapprove would mean that nothing will come to our hands.  I am supported by my family so I don’t need to be afraid.  My family is happy to be free.

For IDG 2014 Take Time to Listen

Listen, reflect and get ready to speak out about what you think, too. Today’s girls are experiencing different kinds of challenges all over the world, but we all can agree that it’s time to listen and stand together to help girls achieve their goals; their dreams.

In India, the clash between modern thinking and traditions is distracting. it’s “Modern Warfare” at school. Check it out:

What do you think?
Let’s celebrate IDG with our hearts and ears open and remember, together, we can change the world!

Happy IDG!


A Girl in Malawi

vEnDGpJ82a_zTUcv8554KLOkQyeoh6TYCG-t3xErh08What does it mean to be a girl? By: Alinafe, 16 years, Malawi

What does it mean to be a girl?

To clean plates? To mop?

To wash clothes?

Yes, yes like that.


To give birth to children?

No, not like that.


What does it mean to be a girl?

To go to school so you can achieve your goals?

Yes, yes like that


What does it mean to be a girl?

To go for marriage early?

To be a prostitute?

To walk with sugar daddies?

To smoke Indian hemp?

To drink beer?

No, definitely no.


What does it mean to be a girl?

To go to the garden?

To clean babies?

To sell goods during the weekend?

Yes, yes like that.


8ZmsO5BGb19CjBcsh9VYYkYVxLlPIb3EV9dhhW7gSzIWhat does it mean to be a girl?

To be important in your family, village or country?



What does it mean to be a girl?

To wear short skirts, trousers?

To eat more food?

To have money?



What does it mean to be a girl?

To go anywhere?

To be rude?

To be naughty?

To be lazy?

No, definitely no.


What does it mean to be a girl?

To be beautiful?

To be brave?

To be clever?

Yes, exactly.


What does it mean to be a girl?

To play with friends?

To go to church?

Yes, yes like that.


Watch Raising Ms. President for IDG 2014

We proudly present the trailer for Raising Ms. President, a documentary about raising the next generation of political leaders.

Find a screening near you! Host one! Join us today, October 11, 2014, for a Twitter Chat about how we can amplify girls voices for change. Join the Raising Ms. President Google Hangout today at 4pm ET and add your voice to the discussion. When girls hold 50% of leadership positions in the world, our solutions will represent 100% of our community. Let’s do this.

Together we can change the world.