Girls everywhere deserve education – that was the theme of GIRLS Inspire’s visit with a group of Canadian high school students. A group of girls from Yale Secondary School have joined together to volunteer their time in support of girls education, proving you are never too young to make a difference.
GIRLS Inspire met with Grade 10 students from Yale Secondary School in Abbotsford for an afternoon of sharing and inspiration. A discussion was had on the issue of child, early and forced marriage, something the student group was unaware of as a reality for many girls their age around the world. GIRLS Inspire shared how it brings about fundamental change to girls that face marriage at an early age. Of girls that are married in developing countries, 60% have had no formal education (www.girlsnotbrides.org). That is why GIRLS Inspire seeks to break the cycle by offering educational opportunities to girls through open and distance learning.
GIRLS Inspire also shared stories of real girls in the project. These are girls that should be in school, but instead, often have a family and household to care and provide for. For example, the project shared the story of Tania from Bangladesh, who was married at 16 and only attended school until Grade Seven. Now 20 years old, Tania has a young daughter to care for. After participating in the training offered through the project, Tania has become a tailor in her community and able to provide income for her family. For Canadian girls of the same age, it’s clear life can be quite different.
After the presentation, the school group brainstormed ways to help, coming up with some fantastic ideas! The first plan of action is to write letters to the girls, sharing experiences of life in Canada and learning more about life for girls in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Tanzania and Mozambique. Other amazing ideas included spreading knowledge of the issue of child, early and forced marriage and fundraising in the next school year.
Overall, the afternoon was one of energy and it was great to see girls in Canada come together to support fellow girls across the globe. Thanks Yale Secondary for having GIRLS Inspire, it was truly motivating. It is clear, girls everywhere are capable of changing the world!