International Day Of The Girl Child October 12, 2017 – Posted in: Life Stories

“Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.” Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist for female education

This year is the first year i’ve ever heard of The International Day of The Girl Child since it’s inception in 2012. While I wish I had known and participated earlier, I’m glad I do now. October 11th is a day that was initiated by the United Nations “to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.” This year, the focus is on empowering girls who have been victims of armed conflicts or natural disasters.

Woman are at a disadvantage from birth, we are guarded from infancy from the big bad world and are taught to live life on the safe side of the world, not wanting more than comfort, to be content with our role as current carers of our fathers and brothers while being trained to be carers in our future husbands home. As a woman, can you remember the first time you were told to do something right so that you will be perfect for your husband? In the average Nigerian home, this begins from 13 and continues until you become a Mrs. (hopefully before you reach the big bad 30). Women are more than the homes they keep warm.

Every girl deserves an equal opportunity in life to prepare her for her best future. Your daughter has a right to a Masters degree just as much as your son does. Train women with the zeal with which men are trained. Teach a woman that she can be the change that the world needs, that she can be the next inventor of something the world doesn’t even know it’s missing. Teach girls to open their mind’s eyes and create. I’m of the opinion that most girls do not dare to dream because they don’t even realize that they have the power to build and be phenomenal. Society has enforced on us again and again our domestic roles in the grand scheme of things. Girls need to be told over and over again that they matter and their dreams are valid, sometimes this involves unlearning everything they’ve always ‘known’ to be their truth.

“Strengthen the female mind by enlarging it, and there will be an end to blind obedience.”Mary Wollstonecraft, 18th century English writer and philosopher

Empowered girls have to learn to fight for disadvantaged girls. “In humanitarian emergencies, gender-based violence often increases, subjecting girls to sexual and physical violence, child marriage, exploitation and trafficking.” It’s easy to sit at home and empathize with the unfortunate things that befall girls nationwide but it’s not enough. We must use our position and our voices no matter how little to fight for the girls that are unable to fight for themselves. When millions of people whisper together with each one’s little voice, the world hears it. ‘In times of crisis, we need to make sure that no girl is left behind’. How can you empower a girl child today?

In our bid to change the present situation of disadvantaged girls, we are also changing the future because once girls know that they have the voice and the power to create change, the world will never be the same again and when a disadvantaged girl gets advantage, she becomes an empowered girl and then goes on to empower other girls and the cycle continues.”Far from being passive recipients of assistance, these girls are leaders who will use the skills that they develop today to rebuild their communities, and create a better future for all of us.” Give a girl education, allow a girl her basic human rights, teach a girl that her dream can become her reality, stop abusing girls, stop taking advantage, how can you be part of the movement?

Durumi IDP camp in Abuja – June 2017

“When you stop violence against girls, they can change this world for better.” —Elizabeth Chatuwa 

In your own little corner, do what you can. It starts with helping one girl. How can you help?

  • There are various organizations that take on the challenges of disadvantages girls from child trafficking, child marriages, enabling education, planning skills acquisition programmes for sustainability etc. Find one that is legit and support by contributing.
  • Empower the women in your lives by supporting their dreams. Start from where you are. Be there for the women close to you, listen to their visions, encourage their dreams and build together.
  • If you own a business, employ a girl (of legal working age) today. The skills you teach a girl today will have a lifetime impact than the money you give. Where possible, teach a girl a skill that is sustainable.
  • Use what you have to join in the conversation. I have my words so I’m writing to you to create awareness, how can you use whatever platform you have?
  • Understand that this is not an initiative you do once a year, every day should be the girls day. Do what you can daily, don’t wait for one recognized day to provide support

You and I have the power to empower others so let us start with what little we have until we create a big change.

Love x Light,

N.