I hear the stories of girls in the developing world. I cringe at the expectation of early marriage and forced childbearing of adolescents. I feel nauseated by the subjection of children to prostitution and exposure to AIDS. I feel deeply for the young girls who only wish to go to school but whose families cannot afford it.
I sit half a world away thinking what a shame it is but feel so far removed. Then I see her through my window – the teenage girl, carrying her newborn as her toddlers struggle to keep up. I am struck by the irony.
I realize there is little difference between the girl I see on the street and the girl halfway around the world. They’ve both been trapped by the vice of cultural norms and live with the mental shackles relegating them to lives of unlived potential.
The perceived worth of girls is a worldwide issue.
Thankfully, some of these girls realize their worth. Addis, Anita, Kidan, Shumi, Sanchita. These are the revolutionaries, the future world leaders. These are the girls whose divine sparks could not be extinguished by the low expectations of society. Their efforts have transformed their lives and the lives of those around them. They give me hope that the life of this unnamed girl down the street has a chance, too…
They make me question my contribution (or lack thereof) to the problem. Until now, I didn’t understand the multiple ways in which one could make a dent.
It starts here with the Girl Effect. It starts with self-education and spreading the knowledge. At the very least, we need to share the facts and have the conversations that lead to further action: donation, microfinance, and time…
…and in our immediate worlds, making the effort to connect with the girl down the street. Why? Because self worth changes everything. We each have the power to be the catalyst for the neXXt.
Change the world 2 X chromosomes at a time. That’s the power of the Girl Effect.