Sufiya Khutan, of Tala Upazila, Bangladesh, became a child bride when she was only 13. By 14, she had already become a mother. When her husband, the only earning member of the family, fell ill several years ago, Sufiya had to rise above dire financial hardship to provide for her daughter Selina’s education and give her a better and more secure future. Their dream? That Selina will become a doctor.
Villagers in Sufiya’s community have criticized her for spending money on her daughter’s education, and the family receives marriage proposals for Selina almost daily. Unable to support more than one child’s education, parents in Bangladesh often decide to educate their sons instead of their daughters, convinced that a son will be able to better provide for his family.
Thousands of young girls wrote passionate letters declaring their right to stay in school and out of child marriage to commemorate National Girl Child Day in Bangladesh this year. The Youth Summit and Letter Festival – organized by Women and Girls Lead Global, National Girl Child Advocacy Forum and Youth Ending Hunger-Naogaon – called on girls to write open letters to their parents, telling them why they didn’t want to marry young. Over 3,000 girls from 53 different schools in Bangladesh participated, sharing their desire for freedom and their disappointment that the law banning child marriage for girls under 16 is not being consistently upheld. Continue reading →
Salma, a Women of the World series film chronicling the extraordinary story of South India’s most famous woman poet and the violence she endured as a young woman, has stirred an incredible response among villagers in Maharashtra, India. One female health worker in particular has seen remarkable changes in the community she serves. Continue reading →
Five countries, six languages, and 100 young people leading change in their communities. Please join Women and Girls Lead Global at our Global Gathering for Girls. We’ll be convening youth from Kenya, India, Bangladesh, Jordan and Peru via Google Hangout to discuss how they’re tackling the greatest challenges facing girls in their countries.
“Above all, we need authorities to listen and understand our demands. That’s why the document we are preparing is so important.”
An upcoming election served as a rallying point for students in San Román in Peru’s Puno Region last month. Dressed in bright school uniforms, 160 students convened in a school auditorium to generate a list of local adolescents’ priorities to present to candidates for regional government positions. The event, the First Forum about Youth Problems and Proposals toward Educational Politics, was hosted by the Mesa Regional de la Juventud (Regional Roundtable for Youth Affairs) and CARE-Peru. Continue reading →
Teenage girl writes down her anonymous question at a WGLG Peru youth event.
“Ahora es Cuando” – Now is the Time – is the name, and also an important message of Women and Girls Lead Global’s (WGLG) campaign in Peru. Traveling to remote rural communities in the Amazon and Andes regions, the WGLG Peru team found that parents and adolescents in these communities were deeply uncomfortable discussing important reproductive health issues and associated risks. Urging parents to talk to their teens sooner rather than later about these pressing issues, the Ahora es Cuando campaign highlights the important connection between timely access to reproductive health information and the completion of secondary school. Continue reading →
By November, the grounds of Bangabandhu Peshajibi High School had been under water for three months, and most of the classrooms were un-usable. But the flooding didn’t stop dozens of students, parents and teachers from flocking to the launch of the Best School for Girls campaign at this secondary school in southern Bangladesh’s Sathkhira District. The Best School for Girls campaign challenges schools in three districts of Bangladesh to create girl-friendly educational environments. Continue reading →
The city of Calcutta in India is 10,961 miles from the community of Unocolla in the Andean highlands of Peru. But the distance did not prevent a group of Peruvian teachers at Unocolla’s Mariano Melgar High School from connecting with the story of Amlan Ganguly, the founder of a youth leadership organization called Prayasam in India.
At a recent screening of a film called TheRevolutionary Optimists, secondary school teachers in Unocolla were inspired by the way in which Ganguly, a lead character in the film, has planted hope in the poorest neighborhoods of Calcutta by empowering children to become leaders in their communities. A teacher named Alejandro Ruelas Verástegui was particularly impressed by an exercise Ganguly leads called, “The River of Life”, which asks children to draw a river that charts the high and low points of their life experiences. He decided to use it, and other colleagues supported his idea. Continue reading →
On July 10th 2013, WGLG Peru carried out its first community engagement event in the Amazon city of Pucallpa. Inspired by Maro Chermayeff´s film She Matters, 25 youth leaders talked about education and health – exploring similarities and differences between their own stories and those portrayed by girls living thousands of kilometers away from Peru.
The face of recognized political actors is changing in Peru. With scarce resources but strong conviction, youth organizations are fighting for their rights and achieving important social change. Decision-makers are starting to listen. WGLG Peru bets on the power of youth, seeking to build a platform that better connects young leaders to audiences who influence their future. Continue reading →