Caroline Riseboro Jun 21, 2018

Together, we sent a message of hope to girls everywhere

Caroline Riseboro | Jun 21, 2018

This June G7 leaders came together to make history and help change the world for millions of girls living in crises.

In total, the G7 countries committed $3.8-billion to educate nearly 9 million children living in conflict zones and refugee camps around the world, including girls who are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school in crises than boys. Canada alone pledged $400-million, sending a clear message that we will continue to fight for girls’ rights no matter where they live.

For some, these numbers may just be dollar figures – but for the millions of children living in crises, these dollars represent a chance to learn and grow in a safe environment, raise their voices, exercise their choices and define their futures.

I had the honour of being on stage at the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Quebec when the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development, shared the news of the historic funding commitment. As the final amount was announced (which was twice the $1.3-billion we had called for) I was overwhelmed with hope, joy and gratitude.

It was a triumphant and emotionally charged moment and one that I will never forget.

As I stood on stage with tears in my eyes, two incredible groups captivated my thoughts: girls around the world…and you, our incredible supporters.

Your passion for girls’ rights helped catalyze this historic moment.

Your support helped inspire the Government of Canada to stand up for the 75 million children and youth who are out of school in 35 conflict-affected countries on the world stage.

And your refusal to accept the status quo led to global action.

Because of the actions taken by G7 leaders, we can start building a world where girls will no longer be two and half times more likely to be out of school in crises situations than boys.

This is the generation that can transform the prejudice, insecurity and violence of today into a more peaceful, equal and just tomorrow.

But they need to have the tools to do so. Quality education for girls is the most powerful investment we can make in ending gender inequality, reducing extreme poverty and promoting peace and security. But you don’t need to take my word for it.

We recently asked girls living in a refugee camp in Jordan about their hopes and dreams for the future.

Sixteen-year-old Jamila dreams of becoming an astronomer or an astronaut. Seven-year-old Iman dreams of being a doctor. Thirteen-year-old Nadira dreams of being an English teacher.

The incredible thing about girls is that even when it seems the world has given up on them – they never give up themselves.

On June 9th together, we sent a simple message to these girls:

We see you

We hear you

And we will not give up on you.

Thank you for being an advocate for girls.