By Hina Gul, HR Manager, SAWERA
The United Nations General Assembly last year adopted a resolution to designate October 11th as the International Day of the Girl Child to recognize girls’ rights, needs and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
The first International Day of the Girl Child focused on child marriages, which is a fundamental human rights violation that impacts a girls’ life in all aspects. This day also promoted equal rights, treatment, and opportunities for girls around the world in different areas like law, health care, education, employment, and freedom from violence and abuse.
SAWERA (Society for Appraisal of Women Empowerment in Rural areas) held its first activity event of girl’s international day, in partnership with Asia Girls Campaign, at the middle school in Hayatabad, Peshawar. That was not an ordinary programme: it was a challenge to all the humans, individuals, organizations, government and private sectors to think about the improvement of girls in each field.
The programme's focus was on girl’s education, employment, freedom, and equal rights. It was about how to generate new ideas and new ways of networking for the promotion of girls all over the world.
Students and teachers shared different ideas, and those participants from each field overall worked together to come up with all the issues related to girls. Students also talked about the importance of girls' rights in day-to-day life.
Students who fully participated in the event said that it’s not only the girl’s international day, but that it’s also a golden day for all girls.
They expressed their opinion that when a girl has an opportunity for education, employment, and equal rights, it benefits the whole society. A number of girls got together and shared a skit regarding girls' equal rights in education, shared songs, and also had a debate competition among students of different grades about the International Day of the Girl Child.
With the passage of time, the world is getting increasingly advanced – it is improving in different areas, especially in developing countries like Pakistan. The celebrations were an occasion to provide the opportunity to girls to share the happiness of little girls who have the right of healthcare, education, freedom, social security and are fully respected in society.
One of the teachers spoke about the first international girls' day – focusing on the early marriages that young girls are forced into. She said that girls are the future leaders and that they first should get an education – and a well-qualified one.
She emphasised this is also the basic right of the girl to have good and successful lifestyle.
She also said the event programme was a good initiative towards the improvement of girls' education and awareness about their basic rights. The teacher said the importance of the day is a good impact on national and international levels, like other notable days such as Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, Labour Day, etc. This type of day should be increased and spread over the world – especially related with girls' problems, needs, and issues, she added.
On the first International Day of the Girl, SAWERA abided by its the commitment to promoting the rights of girls and status – not only in Pakistan, but in all over the world, wherever SAWERA has access.
It is a fact that when a girl comes to know about her well-being and rights, and when she has access to education, she becomes safer from violence and abuse. She comes to know about her basic rights of education, employment, status, and other circumstances of life through education.
An educated girl who knows her rights can live her life by her own wishes, be safe, well, and can also reach her peak of personal success.
SAWERA has committed to work for girls and for all youth to ensure their basic health, to have access the quality education, to prevent girls from becoming victims of violence and abuse, and to let them know about their real status and destination in this world.
SAWERA's work presents a constant challenge.
In this regard, SAWERA needs donor support and moral support from the international community - national and international organisations, different government sectors, and also, from individuals.
You can donate online to SAWERA via the Farida Afridi Fund.
SAWERA is a local women-led NGO in Pakistan, working in Khyber Agency (a tribal area) in particular, and in Federally Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA).
SAWERA is also active in flood emergency relief in District Charsada.
"No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you; we are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable condition in which our women have to live."
Mohammad Ali Jinnah, 1944 - 'Founding Father' of Pakistan.