“Over 130 million girls around the world didn’t go to school today. Millions more braved long distances and dangerous conditions to get to classrooms whose teacher never arrived, or where there were no textbooks or other materials to help them learn.” – Gayle Smith, ONE Campaign
Today these millions of girls are daughters, sisters, friends, neighbors, just like our own daughters, sisters, friends and neighbors, we know and love. On International Day of the Girl, we must remind ourselves to empower girls everywhere everyday, so that their world may be filled with opportunities, education, knowledge and health. So that today’s girls become tomorrows leaders!
Education is the window of opportunity girls have to transform themselves, their families and their community. Education is critical in building a better future, improving health outcomes, and ending abuses such as human trafficking, gender-based violence and child marriage.
Just one example of empowering girls is our HerTime Matters Initiative. Its purpose is to provide sanitary products during her time of the month. Soon after we launched the Adolescent Girls Health Education classes in 2013 in the Afghanistan public schools surrounding Afshar hospital, our instructors realized that many girls had little to no access to basic sanitary products. This means that during a girl’s “time of the month”, coming to school is usually not possible. As a result, she gets behind in her studies. Girls in developing countries miss up to a quarter of their education because they do not have access to sanitary products.
Supporting education for girls is particularly important in Afghanistan the country with the highest rate of gender inequality in education. The number of girls receiving an elementary school education has grown significantly since 2002. However, only 36% of Afghan girls are enrolled in school and that percentage declines each year of secondary and high school.
Check out these videos that inspire us to help achieve a future where all girls are given an opportunity learn and receive an education.