City of Kitchener Councillor, Kelly Galloway-Sealock, and the author's three daughters at a 2012 International Day of the Girl Child event

City of Kitchener Councillor, Kelly Galloway-Sealock, and the author’s three daughters at a 2012 International Day of the Girl Child event

Mark your calendars and celebrate October 11th with your families and in your communities! Why you might ask? Well, the reasons are two-fold. Firstly, October 11th is Eleanor Roosevelt’s birthday. Eleanor was a world-renowned advocate for human rights and world peace. She was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. So, how fitting is it that the United Nations has declared October 11th as the International Day of the Girl Child.

This October 11th marks the second annual International Day of the Girl Child. This day will be celebrated worldwide in an effort to bring attention to the human rights of girls around the world, and to highlight the gender-based struggles that so many young girls face daily.

Forced childhood marriages, rape, and female genital mutilation are just some of the issues that many little girls are forced to deal with at very early ages. In many countries, young girls are not valued and as a result are not invested in, particularly when it comes to schooling.  The resulting long-term effects are alarming and have been documented in an eye-opening video by the Girl Effect movement. Please watch this video and share with friends and family – it will change the way you see the world. Girl Effect – the clock is ticking! 

Last year, the focus of the very first International Day of the Girl Child was child marriage. This year, the focus will be on education. There are so many wonderful ways that you can participate in this important day. Whether you plan a family event or a community event, we all need to ensure that this very important day is recognized. Spread the word – girls are important and need to be valued, respected and treated as equal partners in our local and global communities.

What can you do to honour this important day? You can host a community screening of the Girl Rising film that is receiving acclaim worldwide. You can act to spread the word about struggles some young girls are facing in the world today. You can talk to your children about these critical issues.  You can ask your child’s teacher to discuss this day with their class.  You can organize a fundraising event in your office/workplace. Whatever you choose to do, whether it be large or small-scale, YOU can make a difference on October 11th!

Last year, my three young daughters tied pink ribbons in their hair and joined a local city councillor on a hike discussing the importance of human rights for all girls. It was a simple but highly effective way to celebrate this day. So many people asked them why they were wearing the ribbons, allowing them to speak about the day in their own words describing what it meant to them. It was so great to see the passion being shared by a younger generation, especially given that many of these issues are often difficult for them to understand and rationalize!

This year, we are planning a yoga event at a local studio for young boys and girls in the community. We are asking for small donations, which will then be used to support the educational needs of girls in Tanzania. In addition, my two older daughters have done small research projects on the significance of the International Day of the Girl Child, and will be presenting all that they have learned to their classmates on October 11th, thanks to the support of their teachers. I encourage you to plan an event too!Your event does not have to be fancy or sophisticated. Sometimes the smallest and simplest acts can have the greatest impact.

Let’s all celebrate October 11th together – girls are worth it!

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said;

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”  – Eleanor Roosevelt

In what way might you celebrate the Day of The Girl Child?

This is an original World Moms Blog post written by Alison Fraser.

Alison Fraser

Alison Fraser is the mother of three young girls ranging in age from 5 to 9 years old. She lives with her family in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Alison works as an Environmental Toxicologist with a human environment consulting company and is an active member of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). She is also the founder and director of the Canadian Not for Profit Organization, Mom2Mom Africa, which serves to fund the school fees of children and young women in rural Tanzania. Recently recognized and awarded a "Women of Waterloo Region" award, Alison is very involved in charitable events within her community including Christmas Toy and School Backpack Drives for the local foodbank.

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