International Day of the Girl

You know what’s awesome? Today is the International Day of the Girl Child, a day recognized by the United Nations to “recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.” It’s the second year the Day of the Girl has been recognized, and this year there is a special focus on girls’ education. This video explains why girls’ education especially is such an important investment:

That’s some scary stuff, but there’s good news too: you can help. Harper from Harper Honey has some great advice on how:

“The first step is to make noise and raise awareness. Tell your friends. Get educated by visiting sites like Day of the GirlThe Girl Effect10×10 / Girl Rising, and She’s the First. Bring screenings of Girl Rising, an award-winning documentary about the importance of girls’ education in the developing world, to your area or campus — if not, screen the Nepal Chapter for free. Spread the knowledge. Then, take it to the next level. Fundraise — whether it’s a bake sale at school or asking for donations rather than Christmas or birthday gifts. A little money goes a long way, and a lot of money goes much further.”

Access to education is an issue close to my heart. As some of you may remember, I spent my spring break on a service trip to the Dominican Republic volunteering with the Joan Rose Foundation, which provides a free education (as well as other resources) to impoverished Dominican and Haitian youth. As education is crucial to breaking the cycle of poverty, the Foundation works with both boys and girls, but today I’d like to focus on one girl in particular.

I fell in love with this little girl over the course of the week, and even though she was very shy and doesn’t speak too much, we shared many special moments together. All I wanted was to provide her with the same opportunities I have — the ones I take for granted each day — but the reality is that she’s a toddler who comes to school barefoot and in ragged dresses.

Today, I’m joining Harper and becoming a part of this conversation to support girls’ educations across the globe. Getting people talking is an important first step. Do it for Malala, do it for my girls at Joan Rose, do it for girls (and boys) everywhere.

“The question is not whether we can afford to invest in every child; it is whether we can afford not to.” – Marian Wright Edelman

~ Sarah