Kamla’s father wanted her to drop out of secondary school to get married. Her fate looked grim until she had the idea to stage a hunger strike. Years later, she has graduated high school, received a grant from the Gandhi Fellowship and is now a teacher. She is giving back to girls and boys who grew up in rural areas like her. Today, October 11th, we celebrate girls around the world, like Kamla, through International Day of the Girl.
Happy International Day of the Girl!
In India, 47% of girls are married before their 18th birthday. There are an estimated 700 million people who are still illiterate. 2/3 are women and children. This leaves more than 130 million girls who are not in school around the world today. This is the reality of so many girls around the world.
Educating girls through (at least) the 12th grade strengthens economies, improves public health, makes countries less likely to fall into conflict and even slows climate change. It also delays and avoids childhood marriages. Illiteracy and child marriages handicap a female. The point is giving her the choice for her future. Even if a women decides to get married after and not work, she can at least educate her kids and it boosts her confidence.
Because when you educate a boy, you educate a boy. When you educate a girl, you educate a family. You essentially educate and better the world.
A young alumnae of Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program in
Uttarakhand, India, Kamla fought for her rights and determined her own future.
As Kamla states, “Obstacles are always part of the journey, but if you believe in yourself, the difficulties will change their path.” Thankfully for non-profit organizations like Room to Read, among many other ones who focus on literacy, education and girl’s scholarships, we can help alleviate poverty and give more opportunities to girls like Kamla.
Happy International Day of the Girl! A day especially worth celebrating!