Diviya is 14 years old and lives in Toronto. An active member of Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl Speakers Bureau, she’s passionate about girls’ rights and social justice. Visit her inspiring blog: http://diviyaliveshere.com
Ever since I was a little girl, I have had a passion for gender equality. My spark was ignited when I was in the sixth grade, and had a school assignment to write a speech and present it to my class. At first, I was just going to give a generic speech about my favourite sport or my family trip to Florida. But then I decided to do something I really cared about: the girl issue. When I was writing my speech, it was like the words just flowed out of me. I eventually went on to win my school’s speech competition.
[SEE ALSO: Diviya gives winning speech on the girl issue!]
Since then, I have started my own social justice blog and have organized several fundraisers for charities like Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl initiative and Free The Children.
I’m writing this blog post to share with you why International Day of the Girl means so much to me. Four years ago, Plan Canada led the charge in creating an International Day of the Girl and they were successful! In 2011, October 11th was declared International Day of the Girl Child by the United Nations. Day of the Girl is a day for the world to come together to celebrate what we have achieved for girls around the world thus far. But, it is also a day to look to the future to see what still must be accomplished.
So why does this day mean so much to me?
1. My connection to girls in India
Being half Indian, I feel an immediate connection to girls in India, even though I live in Canada. I often wonder to myself what my life would be like if I hadn’t been born in Canada. Except for the happenstance of birth, I easily could be one of those girls denied an education, or forced into an early marriage.
In 2014, my family had the opportunity to travel to India. Seeing all the poverty was extremely eye-opening, and gave a face to the causes I support. One moment from my trip that stays with me to this day is when I was sitting in the car, and a girl younger than my little sister was banging on our window. Instead of being at school getting an education, she was on the streets begging for money. Now when I face a challenge in my life, I think of her and remember how fortunate I am. International Day of the Girl is a day to stand up and speak out for girls just like her, so they can have a voice too.
2. It is my obligation
Being born in Canada is probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I have the right to education without any fear of punishment or risk to my safety. I have the freedom of speech, and the freedom to be myself.
Every day I think about how fortunate I am to be getting an education. Because even many of the girls in rural Africa or India fortunate enough to go to school, must walk for hours and hours to get there. Not only that, school is not always a safe place for many girls due to school-related gender-based violence.
When I think about the lives of other girls around the world, I feel like it is my obligation to help them. I like to think of these girls as my sisters. I wasn’t given this life to sit in the lap of luxury and ignore what is happening in other parts of the world. I was given this life to help those around me. Like Malala once said, “I speak, not for myself, but for those without a voice.”
3. It is a day to celebrate amazing girls
International Day of the Girl isn’t just about raising awareness about all the social injustices happening to girls around the world, it is also a day to celebrate some pretty awesome female role models who are making a difference. For me personally, Malala is a huge inspiration. Her passion and her story inspire me every day to make a difference and stand up for what I believe in.
I am so excited to celebrate International Day of the Girl on October 11th! How will you be celebrating?
Thanks for joining me on my journey to change the world!
Celebrate International Day of the Girl!
Want celebrate International Day of the Girl, but you don’t know how? Take the pledge for girls’ rights and show your support for a brighter future. Host your own Day of the Girl event, or check out these other great ideas on the Because I am a Girl website!