When I read about Malala Yousafzai, I was horrified, angry, and depressed. Fourteen years old, shot by the Taliban because she wanted to go to school and had the audacity to blog about it. A teenaged girl, targeted for assassination, because she wanted an education. Some extremist bastard shot a child because she wanted to go to school. No matter how many ways I phrase that, it's still awful. And honestly, I'm not "angry," I'm fucking mad as hell. But it's not just Pakistan. It's not just Muslim countries. This evil-mindedness toward girls happens everywhere.
What you can do to help today, and affect real change:• Rescue a girl from indentured servitude in Nepal.
• Send a girl to school in Afghanistan.In western Nepal, many indigenous families from the Tharu ethnic group subsist as farm laborers. Unable to make ends meet, they have been forced into a desperate trade – selling their daughters to work far from home as bonded servants in private homes or as dishwashers in tea houses. Some of these children are as young as six. Alone and far from home, these "indentured daughters" have no knowledge of the ways of city people or of other cultures, and most speak only the local dialect. Their living conditions are entirely at the discretion of their employers. The bonded girls seldom attend school and have no prospects for a decent future. Some are ultimately forced into prostitution.
The Zabuli Education Center was founded by Afghan native Razia Jan through the Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation. Razia’s dream of a school for girls became reality through the collaboration of several extraordinary women — as well as the vital support from generous organizations and the hard work of staff and volunteers.• Sponsor the education of a Maasai girl in Kenya.
The Maasai Girls Education Fund was created to improve the literacy, health and economic well-being of Maasai women in Kenya and their families through education of girls and their communities. MGEF provides scholarships from primary school through university to girls who have never enrolled in school, or who would be forced to drop out of school for cultural or economic reasons, and we are committed to each student until they have the knowledge and skills needed to enter the workforce in Kenya. With economic empowerment, this new generation of Maasai women will end early marriages and circumcision of girls and bring greater literacy, health, and economic well being to future generations.
Want something closer to home, or think this is only a Third World problem?• Donate to Children of the Night in the United States.
Children of the Night is a privately funded non-profit organization established in 1979 and dedicated to rescuing America's children from the ravages of prostitution.Note: I looked for something similar in Canada, and didn't find it. Prostitution is legal there, but child prostitution is not, nor is child trafficking. If you know of an organization that helps Canadian girls escape prostitution, or helps Canadian girls generally, let me know!
If you know of an organization that seeks to raise up girls and give them equal status to boys, post it in the comments!
If you don't have the cash to donate to an organization, you can donate your time. Mentor, raise awareness, make your voice heard. Find more ways to affect change here: amazingwomenrock.com/links-to-empower-girls, ungei.org/ (United Nations Girls' Education Initiative), and of course dayofthegirl.org/.
Girls matter. And if you need an explanation why, you're part of the problem.