In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution adopting 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child, recognising girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls around the world face realising them. This day was recognised to inspire girls to break chains and take successful steps towards their futures.
In 1995, the fourth World Conference on Women made history for the women’s rights agenda with the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action which fought for gender equality and the empowerment of all women, everywhere.
Keeping the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in mind, as we celebrate this year’s theme set by the United Nations Women; Girl Force: Unscripted and Unstoppable, we bring you stories of courage and determination from Smile Foundation beneficiaries who have broken boundaries to achieve what is rightfully theirs.
“Didi, do you know the joy of touching the keys of a keyboard? You touch them and the alphabets appear on the screen. It is magical.”
Komal is a beneficiary of Smile Foundation’s Mission Education programme. At her village where girl child education is not considered important Komal has broken out of the shackles of oppression. She convinced her parents to let her go to school instead of getting married at a young age. The second child of Meena and Ajit, every morning Komal races her brothers to school. She is unstoppable now and takes a keen interest in the subjects of mathematics and science and dreams of becoming a scientist when she grows up.
“Growing up, I realized that if there is anything I want in my life, it is to be able to fly. I want to become a cabin crew member.”
Moumita’s parents who own a small grocery shop realized the importance of girl child education very early. Her mother who was uneducated could not do much to help her father run the house. When Moumita was born they had decided to give her the best of everything but she could not pursue higher education because of poor financial condition.
When Moumita joined Smile Foundation’s STeP employability training course in the hope of turning her dreams into reality her parents were her support system. Today, she feels confident after honing her English Speaking Skills. The Personality development classes taught her that her goal might be far away, but it is still achievable. Because of the STeP Course, the belief in her dream stands tall today. This International Day of the Girl Child she pledges to mobilize and sensitize girls like her to become self-sufficient.
“Since I wasn’t allowed to go to school by my grandparents, I would try to get inside my brother’s school building to see how classrooms looked like. One of my brother’s female classmates tried to teach me to write my name in English. I was trying to learn those alphabets with sincere efforts. But one day, they caught me while climbing the school wall. Although they spared me with a warning, but ensured that I never enter the school again. It’s been 22 years now that I’m still waiting to write my name in English. I think my youngest daughter won’t keep me away from my dream!”
Gauri was married off at a young age but that did not stop her from educating her daughters. She fully understands the importance of girl child education. This International Day of the Girl Child she pledges to learn the alphabets from her daughters and hopes to start reading stories to her daughters soon.
This International Day of the Girl Child we at Smile Foundation pledge to educate. empower and ensure that all girls have access to quality education and a dignified life.
To know more: https://www.smilefoundationindia.org/she-can-fly/