International Day of the Girl
I was interested in participating in International Day of the Girl for multiple reasons. One of them was having the opportunity to meet youth from other countries. I haven’t had the chance to travel outside the U.S so I always find it interesting to learn someone else’s culture through a first person interaction. Another reason was being able to share why investing in girl’s education mattered. I didn’t grow up in the best household but education positively influenced me. Education gave me something to look forward to and I came across educators that believed in my potential, which in turn gave me the confidence to succeed. I feel that the same trend can be repeated world wide when girls are given a fair shot at education.
The activities I was able to partake included being the Emcee for the Be Bold Youth Leadership Event and sharing how I was bold at the Because I am Girl Gala. I was so glad I was also able to emcee the event along with Kyle and Ari one of the girl’s I met at the YUGA Summit in 2013. It was my first time emceeing and I’m glad was able to do that with amazing people. One of the events all of the youth ambassadors participated in was the pink lighting of the Empire State Building in honor of International Day of the Girl. We all got to take pictures with Julianne Hough during the event. There were so many photographs that I almost felt blind afterwards but we had so much fun!
An activity that made a lasting impact to me was when the group of youth and chaperones shared their life map. A life map is made out of a series of key events that has impacted you as a person or has led you to where you are today. Parts of our lives were hard to share with others but I feel that we felt closer as a group afterwards. I will always remember this because sharing your life map is way of sharing a part of you with others.
Promoting Gender Equality
I learned that one of the ways to promote gender equality is through the media, storytelling, and one on one interaction with others. When I think about media the movie Girl Rising comes to mind. Girl Rising is about 9 girls who share the struggles they face while trying to attain an education. I feel that whoever watches this movie is immediately transformed and inspired to work towards gender equality. Storytelling and one on one interaction go in hand. Rabia and Lydia (Pakistan and Ugandan Delegates) come to mind when I think about this. Rabia shared her own experience with gender inequality in her country during her speech at the gala. I remember how Lydia was sharing her experiences one on one at some of the events I attended. I think that when the stories come from people that experienced the issues girls face, then people really start to listen.
Ambassadors from Other Countries
While heading to the hotel my chaperone, Laura, told me my roommate was going to be Lydia from Uganda. I was so excited to meet her but after her long flight I would not be able to formally meet her until the following day. While putting my stuff away in the room Lydia woke up and jumped excitedly to greet me. Her energy was contagious and it was a start to wonderful week. When we had free time we would exchange music. I found it interesting how we liked some of the same music. I introduced her to some of the songs I liked and vice versa.
Another fun thing about interacting with youth ambassadors from Uganda and Pakistan was trying to learn their language. Sadrack and Lydia taught me phrases in their dialect and I learned some words from the Rabia and Sunaina. We had a lot of fun together and I simply loved learning from them.
There’s different ways others can get involved with International Day of the Girl. IDG is day where Plan and other organizations raise awareness about the challenges girls face around the world. Some of the ways you get involved is by showing others the Girl Rising movie, using the annual hash tag provided by Plan, and attending the annual Because I am a Girl Fundraising Gala.