When I traveled to Malawi, Africa over seven years ago I had no idea what was in store for me. My time in Malawi now holds itself as one of the most defining experiences of my life and of who I am. I owe a lot of that to the children there. Through my work as a volunteer in rural primary schools, I laughed, cried, sang songs and listened to the harsh realities of far too many children – especially girls. That experience opened me, my thoughts, and my view of the world up in ways I could have never imagined. I knew then, and I know now, that I want to do something to make a difference – I want to create change in our world, especially for women and girls.
Today, I am joining women from around the world – and a few men, too – who also want to improve the lives of girls. We’ve all joined in to participate in the Girl Effect Blogging Campaign, which kicks off today. When I sat down to write today’s post, I knew I wanted to include a video from one of the five girls featured through the Girl Effect Movement. As I watched each of them, with the purpose of choosing one to share in this space, picking one felt impossible to do. How could I only pick just one video? In picking just one, I felt like in some way I would be silencing the other four girls and their stories. Too many people have already done that; far too many girls are being silenced each day.
I want to share each of these stories with you.
Each video is less then two minutes long – most are just over one minute.
Today, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world.
Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls.
An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent.
An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
One girl in seven in developing countries marries before age 15.
38 percent marry before age 18.
Shumi said, “I would tell the girls of the world, whatever you do, even if it is small, you will see a brighter future.”
And I say to you, whatever you do, even if it is small, you will help contribute to a brighter future for girls around the world.
There are so many things out there that you can do. If in this moment, you’re not sure what that is. That’s okay. As I write this I’m also sitting here considering, what can I do? How can I contribute to improving the lives of girls around the world on a more consistent basis? I want this to be a part of my life; I want this to be a part of what I do.
If you feel an urge to do something – even if you’re not quite sure what that is just yet – hold on to that. Journal about it, schedule a date with yourself to brainstorm ideas of what you can do, talk with a friend about it. Don’t let the urge you feel to do something slip away.
Create change. Girls around the world need you.
I know you probably have a lot of thoughts running through your mind right now – I certainly do. I would love to hear what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling, how you want to contribute. Please feel free to drop a note in the comments section.
By the way, it’s not too late to join the Girl Effect Blogging Campaign. You can visit this webpage to get more info. Lastly, I just want to say thank-you to Tara Sophia Mohr – she is the beautiful soul who organized the Girl Effect Blogging Campaign.
All stats in this post are from the Girl Effect Fact Sheet. For source documentation, please click here.