october 11, 2019
International Day of the Girl
Let’s support and empower girls!
Girls’ rights around the world are under attack. And sometimes the perpetrator is their own government. Harmful religious and cultural practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation are robbing girls of their future. Poverty increases their vulnerability to sexual abuse and violence.
Each year, at least 12 million girls globally are married during childhood, before they turn 18. These early and sometimes forced marriages mean girls drop out of school to take care of the household, have children at a young age and are prevented from reaching their full potential. In Tanzania where Crossroads works, the government punishes pregnant girls by expelling them from school if they become pregnant and prohibiting their return to school. This fundamentally affects their education and their future. They can no longer pursue a higher education in order to earn a better living later on in life making them and their family more economically vulnerable. In sub-Saharan Africa, where Crossroads International operates, 31 million of girls are out of secondary education.
Although the barriers are significant, they are not insurmountable. Creating a safe space for girls to share their experiences, raise their voices, and learn about their bodies, their rights and their potential is having results. Crossroads works through local partners in 5 countries to implement Girls’ Empowerment Programming in and out of the school system across Africa. More than 3,500 members of the 112 Girls’ Empowerment Clubs each year are building their confidence, getting the support they need to overcome sexual violence and to learn about themselves and the leaders they can become in Burkina Faso, Ghana, eSwatini, Togo and Tanzania.
With the Let Girls Be Girls initiative, today you can make a difference, today you can support girls and show girls they are not alone and they can count on all of us.
Each year Crossroads International organizes a breakfast on the International Day of the Girl to support and empower girls in Africa. This year, Tanzanian lawyer, activist and 2018 UN Human Rights Prize Recipient, Rebeca Gyumi will join us to share her fight against child marriage. In 2016, Rebeca challenged the Tanzania Marriage Act that allowed girls as young as 14 to marry, and today the Tanzanian government is appealing the ruling.