Caroline Riseboro

Defy Normal for Children Everywhere

Caroline Riseboro

Fall is often a time of reflection, preparation and a chance to embrace the change to come. As I take a moment to reflect on what we’ve been able to accomplish over the past few months I am filled with a sense of hope and renewed energy.

Being able to witness the historical announcement at the 2018 G7 Leaders’ Summit in June was a joyous time for me. Together we celebrated a monumental victory for girls in crisis when G7 leaders agreed to pledge $3.8B CAD towards the education of over 8 million children. I was especially thrilled to know that this funding was granted with a special focus on girls who are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school in crises than boys.

Girl holding up sign that says "Education"

But as I consider what’s in store for the upcoming year, I am also filled with excitement and anticipation, especially as Plan International Canada gets ready to launch a bold new campaign, one that challenges all Canadians to defy the “normal” that denies children their rights and girls their equality.

Defy Normal is a rallying cry for all of us to take a stand for children – especially girls – everywhere.

It’s a challenge to reject apathy, particularly at a time when girls continue to face double barriers to equality and when over 263 million children and youth around the world are currently out of school.

Defy Normal is a reminder that we cannot allow ourselves to be lulled into passivity. Not when approximately 12 million girls under 18 are married each year.

That’s 32,877 girls each day, nearly 1 girl every 2 seconds.

2 girls holding a soccer ball

Anytime children are not granted the opportunity to go to school or make their own decisions they are being denied their inalienable human rights. But It doesn’t have to be this way. We have the power to take a stand anywhere children are prevented from accessing to their rights and girls are not equally valued. When children realize their rights, they are better empowered to take hold of their futures, demand change and impact the world around them.

This campaign is inspired and fueled by your steady support. By contributing to Plan International Canada, you are already resisting the “normal” that denies children their rights.

Still, the fight against inequality cannot be won until every child is free from exploitation, abuse, violence and poverty. Together we can ignite a movement to Defy Normal. Until then we cannot slow our stride. We must keep the torch of defiance burning bright for this generation and the generations to come so that children and girls everywhere can live in a world where they are free to unleash their full potential.