Tag Archives: IDG2013

Happy Holidays & New Year from IDG Summit

Thank you to everyone for making IDG2013 and the 11 Days of Action a huge success!

IDG 2013Because of you, girls’ voices were heard around the world. They spoke out against violence, discrimination, and inequality, and celebrated their collective power on October 11th. They showed us how to create change in our communities.

And because of each and every girl around the world, we are forever inspired! We can’t wait to see what girls will accomplish in 2014.

The Girl Manifesto

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Long Live the Girls is a girls’ empowerment group based in Hawassa, Ethiopia that focuses on building girls’ creative writing skills. The Girl Manifesto is a signature project, which prepares girls and women to engage gender policy through the manifesto as a literary and political form.

In a world where speaking up and out can trigger negative attention and consequences, the Girl Manifesto project makes a difference in the lives of the 33 girls and women who come daily, sometimes from great distances, to participate in our writing workshops and literary readings.

1098103_176002812583860_636772143_nGirls practice the skills and tools necessary to build confidence and speak out on the issues that mattered most to them. The GIRL MANIFESTO book is now in its final stages of production and will be ready for distribution at the end of 2013.

Check out this great video on our project! And follow our work on Facebook at: Long Live the Girls

The Girl Manifesto is an extraordinary achievement – highlighting how collaborators from around the world come together to rally and to amplify girls and women’s voices in Ethiopia — contributing to a growing literary scene in the country. The Girl Manifesto also evidences a wider, international conversation on the power of girls and women to transform their own lives and the worlds around them.

1002603_176149152569226_1040932971_nLong Live the Girls was very inspired by the daily actions of Day of the Girl Summit and was proud to contribute to the conversation on gender equality in our own community and online.

On behalf of Break Arts: International Arts & Education Collaborative (www.breakarts.org) as well as Action for Youth and Community Change, we look forward to being part of the change we all want to see in the world — where all people feel free and safe to express themselves.

— Kidest Tariku & Amanda Lichtenstein, Long Live the Girls

 

 

Every Girl Matters

2Whenever I’m asked to express my sentiments regarding the International Day of the Girl, I am left in a state of indecisiveness. My views are couched in an expression of an inherent dichotomy. The day symbolizes a space to appreciate liberation and reassertion of an identity (of being a girl) otherwise discriminated against. It appears to me as if I’ll be heard today; my dreams which, on other accounts are termed unrealistic shall qualify to be viewed on this occasion, as inspirational and a path-breaking ideology.  Celebrating the voice of a ‘she’ internationally reinforces the idea of how significant girls can be the world over. Why then, should there even be a special day to commemorate the voice of a girl? Is it because she continues to struggle, protest, face subjugation and routine unjust treatment for the rest three sixty four days of the year? How crucial is this celebration, in correlation to the hard- hitting realities of young girls across the globe? Initially, I struggled to comprehend the purpose of the day itself.

But then my initial sense of pessimism recedes in the background. It is hard to deny the roots of such a celebration that germinates as a consequence of an unbroken chain of successful struggle, a network of millions of girls and their fragmented stories which, when joined together, becomes a remarkable narration– of love, hope and persistent courage. Inspirational young girls have time and again, resisted against oppression, unjust treatment and violence inflicted upon them. Girls face sex-selection, incidents of sex trafficking, child marriage, school drop- out, child sexual abuse and incest in our local and global communities.

IMG_9122What is encouraging is the realization that just like oppression against girls has been an endemic phenomenon transcending national boundaries; youth activism advocating for equal rights and opportunities of girls is now center stage amidst a global audience. For me – in the process of fighting for the constitutional right to life that every girl child deserves in India, through Campaign Rebirth, and in contributing to the International Day of the Girl Speak Out at the United Nations, I have realized that the world does not need to be a cruel place. It can be a place of transformation and change. By focusing on the two dimensions of female foeticide and rights of abandoned girls currently residing in shelter homes of New Delhi, India, I am convinced that the impetus to change will come from us – the girls.

I draw my sense of inspiration from the small, simple things in life – from young girls becoming young activists in support of global education; standing up to represent her choice of not getting married or deciding upon her own professional pursuits; to something as seemingly insignificant as girls learning to ride a bicycle. I get inspired, not only by girls who have experienced oppression, but others who have pushed themselves out of their comfort zones to become sensitive to discrimination and in turn, sown their own seeds of conviction, change and persistence.

I believe our societies have much to contribute in terms of encouraging girls to become change makers – to challenge centuries of discrimination around the globe.

534329_425103567591249_1009774378_nGirls, I strongly feel, must be celebrated each day, for their creativity, vibrancy and enthusiasm. Further still – every act of standing up for equality of opportunities is applause-worthy.  It is that fact, that stands out to me as the key message of this day – the International Day of the Girl.

Every initiative matters. Every girl matters.

By: Arpita, Founder/ President Campaign Rebirth, Sociology Student and Coordinator of Women’s Development Cell, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi, India.

You can watch Arpita’s video for the International Day of the Girl Summit: Here!

Tell Your Story: Girls Changing the World

image002Girls are powerful leaders and the Global Girls Conversation is their chance to tell their stories, raise their voices, and share their success with the world. Let Girls Lead’s Global Girls’ Conversation video contest is now accepting submissions of 1-2 minute videos that capture how girls are transforming their own lives and the world. This exciting contest is open to girls, organizations, and girls’ allies (friends, family, and community members) who want to share girls’ stories of inspiring leadership. Enter the contest: Here

A jury of filmmakers, global experts, and girl leaders will select the best videos submitted, and winners will receive $10,000 in funding, training, and equipment to create their own short films. The Huffington Post will highlight one video from the Global Girls Conversation each week, sharing the power and diversity of girls’ solutions with a global audience.

Keep the spirit of IDG2013 and the Girls Speak Out alive! Together, we are changing the world!

Follow Their Lead

575681_10151915127280851_804282906_nThere are far too few opportunities in today’s world for girls’ voices and stories to be heard. In response to fact that girls today are often undervalued and neglected, the International Day of the Girl serves to highlight and celebrate the power of girls across the globe, and to create new ways of viewing the world and making a difference.

My experience at the Girls Speak Out proved to me how truly powerful girls are. I heard from 16-year-old Claudia about girls issues in Mozambique, Diana about undocumented youth in the USA, Malika and her distribution of bikes to get girls to school in Burkina Faso, Nessrine & Sihem about girls’ education and human rights in Algeria, Sophie about starting a swimming program for girls in Dominican Republic, and Yeimy on girls’ education and political participation in Guatemala.

The diversity that the panel of girls embodied, along with the diversity of the crowd, made the fact that they all came together for a common purpose all the more powerful.

With such diversity, the energy in the room throughout the event made it apparent that, although the International Day of the Girl is only one day, the ideas discussed and energy shared was not going to disappear when the day was done.

_FC73952Members of the UN provided insight and feedback on the girls’ projects. Their presence and support aided in the acceptance and legitimacy of the girls’ work – an official stamp of approval that girls, unfortunately, do not always receive.

Yet, the creation of a space for girls’ voices to be heard remains a powerful reminder of how vital it is to listen to these voices and follow their lead! The Girls Speak Out celebrated the power that girls around the world possess to create change in our local communities.

By: Ashley Van Riper, The College of New Jersey, WILL Program

I Will Never Forget

1380031_10202414369740026_1531656360_nOn October 11, 2013, I had the greatest privilege to attend the United Nation’s 2nd Annual International Day of the Girl with a few of my fellow Women in Learning and Leadership members from The College of New Jersey.

It was surreal to me that I got to enter the United Nation’s Headquarters and to actually sit in the ECOSOC Chamber. I felt as if I was really working at the United Nations. In fact, I aspire to do so in the future. Moreso, my birthday was two days after the IDG Summit and being present at that event was the greatest birthday gift – and something I will never forget.

I enjoyed the way that so many girls gathered in the ECOSOC chamber to celebrate girl’s empowerment, making it a special opportunity to bond and express girls’ ideas on and confidence in girls’ activism. The girl activists who spoke bravely about their activism truly touched me and made me realize how special and powerful their work is in our communities. When I was that young, I never thought about making changes in this way.

_FC74147The Girls Speak Out activists inspired me with their bravery. I want to become more involved in girls’ activism, and help to promote feminism and gender equality. Long Live #IDG2013!

By: Mi-Yeon Park, The College of New Jersey, WILL Program

Open Your Eyes to the Power of Girls

1378814_10202414375980182_1993526764_nAs an executive board member of TCNJ’s curricular and co-curricular Women in Learning and Leadership (WILL) Program, the Girls Speak Out Session at United Nations on the second annual International Day of the Girl was eye-opening.

It was amazing to hear girls from all over the world, as young as 13 and no older than 17, talk about how they are changing their communities. There were girls working on issues such as improving girls’ education, eliminating early marriages, advocating for undocumented youth, encouraging healthy lifestyles, and so much more.

Girls ran the Girls Speak Out, introducing the speakers and the girl activists, ensuring that the day focused on girls.  And in addition to the girl advocates and activists, there were members from the United Nations taking part too – responding to the girls, saying how they could use their positions to help the girls further their projects and help them reach beyond change in their local communities.

1381174_10202414369060009_684025723_nThe day was overwhelmingly inspiring, seeing girls younger than I achieving so much progress.

As a WILL student, someone who is actively trying to better the world (or, at the moment, the TCNJ campus) for girls and women, this experience made me hopeful that our work does have an impact. The girls’ work is encouraging, and it renewed my passion for my work with WILL, as I am now more excited than ever for all of our upcoming events this year.

The Girls Speak Out was a wonderful experience, and I was humbled to be in the same room with such powerful, driven, poised girls.

By: Erin Shannon, The College of New Jersey, WILL Program

Girl Power and Gobal Unity

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They walked into the United Nations with a sense of confidence and excitement. They were asked to help welcome attendees to the Girls Speak Out at the United Nations. All three girls, ranging in age from 12 to 16, felt empowered to help the Girls Speak Out shine a light on the global, girl’s point of view.

Julia, the Girl Advocate from Working Group on Girls, and moderator of the Girls Speak Out, welcomed these three girls and made them feel truly welcome.

The girls could tell it was a big deal. And it was. For the first time, the United Nations allowed 500 youth to attend, moderate and WELCOME guests. It was an honor for these girls to have been invited to help and they couldn’t wait.

When they entered the ECOSOC Chamber of the United Nations, their emotions intensified. Humility replaced confidence. Awe replaced excitement. They met the panel of amazing girls who would tell their stories of activism. And in the back of their minds, they started to wonder, “how do I fit in here when these girls are doing such important and amazing things.”

They began greeting the United Nations dignitaries, guests and girls who were excited to attend this ground-breaking event, with friendliness and poise. They passed out the Social Media cards and helped people find the bathroom. And then, when the door opening was delayed for another 15 minutes, they started joking and chatting with the girls in line. They learned about the many different ways that the girls waiting in the hallway were helping advocate for girls’ rights. From the Girl Scouts to groups like Girls Learn International, American Association of University Women, Brave Girls Alliance or even like their own community, iTwixie, they recognized that this group represented a huge and diverse amount of work that was being done around the world, all in support of Girls’ Rights. And they began to feel like they did, indeed, fit in. They felt welcome. And they felt united with everyone that day — in that ECOSOC Chamber of the United Nations, in the hallway waiting to go in, and later in Times Square — because everyone shared a single goal: Girls’ Rights. The message, while simple, was powerful: no matter how a girl’s rights get challenged, girls can advocate for girls and change the world.

Once all guests were allowed in the ECOSOC Chamber of the United Nations, they found a seat to listen to the heart-felt presentations. The words each girl spoke about her need to act and how her action changed her world, again, inspired gratitude and humility. They saw how passionate the girls from the Girls Speak Out were, as the stories spurred the audience to stand up and give 4 standing ovations. Each girl told a story that sparked a realization that each girl has purpose; a voice. They congratulated the girls on the panel for bringing their stories, so impactfully, to the rest of the world and they wished that the day wouldn’t end.

“We need the Day of the Girl because girls really can do anything, if the world wouldn’t be so afraid to let them just do it,” said Julia.

“Girls can do anything boys can do, that’s why we need Day of the Girl,” said Abby.

“When girls get an education and can pursue their dreams, their city, state and country are better off. That’s why we need the Day of the Girl. Every leader needs to know this so that our communities can do a better job of helping all girls succeed. It’s good for communities to invest in girls,” said Madeline.

They said that the 2013 International Day of the Girl changed them and that they each have things they want to speak out about in their community to help make their world better for girls.

How did the 2013 International Day of the Girl change you? Tell us right here and keep the inspiration going!

IDG Makes Me Feel Inspired

Anita at SPK OutThe following post shares the thoughts and reflections of Anita, Girl Advocate for the Working Group on Girls. She leads us through her feelings and reflections at the IDG 2013 Girls Speak Out.

I am nervous, but nervous could not be the word to express the millions of emotions running through my head. All eyes on us. The Working Group on Girls members looking at us with confidence with faith in their eyes. They believe in us. And ready or not, three o’clock was here. Lights, camera, action.

My obsession to deliver my speech perfectly was washed away when I stumbled on a sentence. So I smile as I looked out to the audience and saw my best friend, 20 other students from my class, and GIRLS. The ECOSOC chamber for one day, October 11 to be exact, was filled with girls and leaders who want girls to succeed globally.

My favorite part of the Girl Speak Out was the audience. They responded with compassion and serenity as we were all moved together.

Hands UpI was asked to give one word to describe my feelings after speaking at the UN with audience members, such as the Ambassador of Turkey. My instant reaction was that one word cannot describe the mood of IDG 2013. However, instantly the word “inspired” shot right through my mouth.

The Girl Speak Out was more than just testimonies. It awakened the drive to make a difference, create change – even something as simple as starting a petition – I feel inspired.

The Speak Out was accessible to anyone. That was the beautiful part. It was not just an event for people at the UN, but for girls everywhere.

It is unanimous: The Day of the Girl should be everyday! It brought girls and adults from all different backgrounds together to connect and change the world.