Tag Archives: Working Group on Girls

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.

Lizzy Reflects on the Girls Speak Out at the United Nations

Lizzy at SpkOutFor the Girls Speak Out on October 11th, six girl activists from around the world, ages thirteen to seventeen, shared their inspirational stories and projects. I had the unique opportunity to hear these stories first hand as a representative of Girls Learn International and Girl Advocate for the Working Group on Girls. In fact, I helped to moderate the discussion for the Girls Speak Out. Here are my thoughts about that powerful day, IDG2013:

Eighth-grader Sophie talked about teaching swimming lessons for three years with the Mariposa Foundation on the Northern Coast of the Dominican Republic. Giving girls in this coastal community the opportunity to swim allowed them to get jobs, save lives, and change their social status. Seventeen-year old Diana talked about immigrating to the United States at a young age with her family, crossing a desert for three days with little food or water. Her personal triumph and activism in the New York State Youth Leadership Council shone a light on the deeply unfair immigrants policies. As she said herself, with a power that was startling and amazing, “I am undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic”.

Fourteen-year-old Malika from Burkina Faso shared how she raised thousands of dollars to buy bikes that help girls safely travel to and from school in her community. Yeimy from Guatemala talked about her grassroots activism within her community – working to bring increased government attention and aid to girls’ education and teenage pregnancy. Claudia from Mozambique spoke about the awareness she raised in her community about human rights and girls’ education. Nesserine and Sihem from Algeria talked about the organization they founded to help more girls go to school within their community.

Speak Out PassAs more and more girls spoke, more and more respondents (Ambassadors, Executive Directors, and High-Level UN officials) became speechless in the wake of such powerful and personal testimonies. I had heard all their stories before in rehearsal, but there was something different in the way the girls were speaking on that day. There was more urgency in their voices, more insistence.

I hear UN officials say at every event that they know investing in girls is important. That they know it changes the world. That they, and their respective governments or organizations, are working to help girls. As great as these public speeches are, girls worldwide get a pitiful amount of international aid: 1%. 1% of all international aid.

The discrepancy between words and actions deny girls worldwide their human rights.

GLI Chapter at SPK OutBut the girl activists at the Girls Speak Out wanted action. They had already worked within their communities to help empower and educate girls. As they spoke about their own issues, programs, organizations, and activism, it became clear that it is girls who are the experts on girls’ rights. The Girls Speak Out showed that girls are the solution. Girls have the unique perspective of actually being girls. They need to be part of the conversation.

On this International Day of the Girl, they were.