NEW DELHI — Four years ago, the UN established October 11 as International Day of the Girl Child. On this day, campaigns rally together “to highlight, discuss, celebrate and ultimately advance girls’ lives and opportunities across the globe.”
One of the main focuses is to improve education. Girls ten and under have a better chance of attending grade school than previous generations. However, globally, only 30 percent of girls attend a secondary school.
In developing countries like India, one in seven girls marries before the age of 15. Marriage at an early age severely limits a girl’s chances of finishing school and obtaining a degree. For this reason, India embraced International Day of the Girl Child and organized several events to promote education for girls.
Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab and Haryana, witnessed 5,000 female students arrive at school wearing pink turbans. The turbans signified the empowerment of women.
“Pink is a sign of hope,” Pramod Sharma, coordinator of the event, told The Indian Express.
High court judges and chairpersons attended school assemblies to encourage the girls to continue their educations. They told stories of successful Indian women and helped students brainstorm ideas to reach life goals.
Plan India orchestrated “Because I Am a Girl Rock Concert” in Mumbai and lit up significant Delhi monuments in pink to draw attention to the importance of educated girls.
India is not alone in its efforts to make education more accessible to girls. Organizations founded outside of the country reached across its borders on October 10 and 11 to lend their assistance.
Women’s Education Project (WEP) “educate[s]women of limited means to become knowledgeable, confident, self-reliant and responsible leaders.” It offers scholarships for high school, college, school supplies, transportation and more. The money comes from donations. Just $250 buys a year of college for a girl.
“We are many drops who will make a mighty ocean,” states WEP’s website.
Rani Hong, former human trafficking victim and current CEO of the Tronie Foundation in Seattle, recently held a live Twitter chat to answer questions about her experience as a slave in India. She informed her audience that girls are more likely to be forced into human trafficking because of their lack of education and support.
CARE, an Atlanta-based organization, conducted the CARE Walk for Lasting Change in commemoration of girls who have to walk for miles to access water instead of education. The one-mile walk through the heart of Atlanta drew the eyes of the public to CARE’s campaign.
The events launched by these organizations occur annually, so anyone who was unable to participate can look forward to next year’s International Day of the Girl Child and help boost education in India.