School children of JAAGO Foundation School prepared and gave a presentation about girls’ rights. They also conducted workshops at three schools (SAFE School, Zafrabad Adorsho School and Chetonabikash). Nari Uddug Kendra (NUK) organized a dialogue session, a rally attended by 1,000 girls from 10 schools, and a press conference.
In Cambodia, the Cambodian Volunteers for Community Development (CVCD) held a talk focused on promoting girls’ rights and stopping discrimination. The SALT Academy organized a football festival in Battambang and the girls also participated in small group discussions about human rights and their own futures.
Malaysia’s Protect and Save the Children Association of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur (PS the Children) participated in International Day of the Girl Child by playing icebreaker games, teaching and learning about the Rights of the Child, and how to handle emotions and feelings. The activities were aimed at creating awareness for girls’ rights, equipping the participating girls with tools to deal with their emotions, and to give them hope for a bright future. PS the Children also planned a drama activity called “The Heroine’s Journey,” to teach the girls about reaching for their goals.
The Mongolian Youth Development Services Center (MYDSC) organized events in Mongolia for the International Day of the Girl Child. Mongolian pop star Anu attended the event by MYDSC to raise awareness of girls’ issues by participating in a talk show. Additionally, workshops were held for the girls and the organization garnered media attention on TV, in the newspaper, and online. The Princess Center held a discussion entitled, “We are powerful girls,” and started a signature campaign. In the Freedom Parade that was organized, the Princess Center highlighted girls’ issues.
In Kathmandu, the Association of Youth Organization Nepal (AYON), Jagriti Child and Youth Concern Nepal (JCYCN), Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN), and Youth Safe Nepal worked in conjunction with one another to create a program for youths of different backgrounds to discuss their ideas and knowledge about different issues related to girls in Nepal. Data and statistics about social problems such as cultural injustice, illiteracy, poverty, social structure, etc. were presented to the youths, so they could together come up with solutions for addressing these issues.
Celebrations were also held at SAATHI Women’s Shelter in Nepal for survivors of domestic violence.
Hong Kong’s Caritas Pelletier Hall and Pelletier School highlighed 5 important characteristics of girls – Vitality, Courage, Confidence, Knowledge and Responsibility during celebrations.
India saw a high rate of participating organizations. One such organization is Magic Bus India, which held events and activities in several districts. Their activities included football and cricket tournaments, an elocution competition, an essay writing competition, a drawing competition and two rallies. Each competition had a theme based on the discrimination girls face and the need to treat them as equals. Two skits were also created based on the need for equality between boys and girls in terms of the opportunities for them at school and in sports. The organization reported a supportive community.
Schools in Rajasthan in partnership with Vikalp Sansthan also made the local news when some of their schoolgirls met with top officials to bring awareness to the topic abolishing of child marriage. Other activities were also held inmore than 10 schools in different districts of Rajahstan, such as Barmer, Chandan, Jalore, Jodhpur, and Udaipur.Basant Public Secondary School and Government Baliya Senior Secondary Girls School in Pali also held awareness rallies.
Anaravathi Murugaian Municipal Girls High School in partnership with the Rural Depressed Welfare Association (RDWA) held their own competitions including an essay competition on “women and society” and an oratorical competition on the topic of “women’s development is world’s development.” The competitions were followed by a talk addressing some of the local problems in Melkatchirapattu including girls dropping out of school to work in the fields and marrying too young and lacking economic independence and skill training. Slogans such as, “Empower girls, empower the world for a peaceful future,” were raised. RDWA has been working on a project proposal to continue to transform the campaign into an action oriented program to address and benefit adolescent girls.
Another deeply involved organization was the Society for Education and Action (SEA), which formed a network of 5 NGOs, Girl Children Rights and Advocacy Network (GCRAN). To celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, GCRAN held a public awareness rally, march, and signature campaign. The team of girls and child rights activists held street corner meetings and handed out leaflets against child marriage and in support of girls rights. SEA also held a second awareness rally at a Tamil Nadu School.
In Tamil Nadu, the Rural Institute for Development Education (RIDE) is based in Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu, and held awareness campaigns in the district. The Government High School, Kulathur, Pudukottai District, also held an awareness rally in honor of the day. The Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Bhavani, Erode District, theArigjar Anna Girls Higher Secondary School in Adiyamankottai Village, Dharmapuri District, the Srinivasa Rao Higher Secondary School & Kalyanasundaram Higher Secondary School in Thanjavoor District also held awareness rallies.
The Door Step School India held a variety of activities, such as an International Girl Child Day rally, a special movie show for girls, an event to raise voices through drawing, and an activity called “Let’s Speak on Girl Child Day.” The purposes of each were to create a safe space for girls to come together and begin their empowerment and development and encourage girls to take leadership and raise their voices and share their dreams for their futures.
Yuvsatta, in conjunction with People Institute for Development and Training (PIDT), held programs in four different locations. Students performed a skit called “Rise Girls Rise,” and sang songs about the difficulties girls face. An address by the coordinator, Pramod Sharma, focused on some of the atrocities young girls and women in India encounter, including rape, abuse, trafficking, mercy killings, and dowry deaths. Finally, participants took a pledge to support girls and raised the slogan, “if you empower girls, you empower the world, and if you invest in girls, you invest in the future.”
In Pankajam Girls Higher Secondary School in Bodinayakkur, Theni District, the celebrations included teachings about the importance of International Day of the Girl Child, a presentation on the need for education for female children, prizes handed out, and an awareness rally. The awareness campaign focused especially on the caste system, child marriage, polygamy, and problems particular to girls in rural areas.
Deed Trust organized activities at three different schools. An assembly session, dance performance, and competitions in drawing, essay writing, elocution, and rangoli were held for the students.
The Potobar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA) organized a two-day national conference, attended by women and girls. The participants pledged to advocate for girls’ education and condemned the attack on 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai. They also created a special poster for the purpose. At a school in Chakwal, a rally was also organized.
Chand Welfare Foundation organized activities in several schools. Essay competitions were held on “Girl Children’s Issues” in Beacon House School and LIMS School. An art competition and drama presentation was held at Elizabeth Girls High School. Additionally, two rallies were held. The rallies brought special awareness to not only girls’ issues but also girls who are differently abled, as the participants were hearing and speech impaired.
The Society for Appraisal & Women Empowerment in Rural Areas (SAWERA) worked with Hayatabad Peshawar Middle School to focus their events on girls’ education, employment, freedom, and equal rights. The girls shared songs and skits and debated about the topics of the day. Students and teachers had a chance to discuss the plight of girls in Pakistan and express what the International Day of the Girl Child means to them. Celebrations were also held at Government Girls Primary School Hathian # 3 KPK Pakistan.
The Hayat Foundation has been working to provide education, protection, peace and water and sanitation services to those affected by conflict and emergencies. For their celebrations, they took to the streets of Bajour Agency, one of the most conservative areas of Pakistan to spread awareness. Natara Natak’s Girls Rights Clubs also participated and organized awareness events.
At Warsak Model School and College (Girls Branch), Warsak Road, Aware Girls organized a leadership capacities strengthening program for school girls. The girls developed action plans for future in the program.
Celebrations were also held at the Zion Academy of Carmona in the Philippines.
NGO Marifatnoki organized celebrations at the American Corner Gharm (ACG) in Tajikistan, where speeches by children and teachers were given. Girls spoke up about what they want, such as having a chance to graduate from high school, traveling to other countries, and being equal with the boys in their families. Additionally, celebrations were also held in a remote place of Tajikistan. A sport project was also held at Somoniyon School #60 of Jamoat Gharm.
The Garden of Hope Foundation has been campaigning for the Executive Yuan to declare October 11th “Taiwan Girls’ Day.” Though the Gender Equality Unit of the Executive Yuan failed to reach a consensus on the matter in time for the event this year, GOH encouraged more than 80 organizations across Asia to participate in the International Day of the Girl Child and themselves held events to promote awareness for Asian girls. GOH sent organizations in Asia pink ribbons and posters about the campaign to raise awareness. A press conference was held by GOH, during which Asian Girl Ambassadors gave speeches about the issues in their respective countries. High-ranking members of the Legislative Yuan, the Executive Yuan, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also delivered speeches. After a series of workshops at various counties/cities in Taiwan prior to October, the culminating event was the 1st Asian Girls Campaign & 10th Formosan Girls Award Ceremony.
Five Star Chef
“People may think baking is an elegant and attractive occupation,” says top Taiwanese chef Jin-jun Xiang, “but in the beginning, you have to be an apprentice. You start by lifting flour bags and cleaning trays. The hours are very long and the day begins at 4 o’clock in the morning. A lot of people quit because the reality doesn’t match their expectations.”
At the five-star Chateau de Chine hotel in Hualien, Taiwan, the head baking chef Jin-jun Xiang is talking to a group of girls, who are on a tour organized by the Garden of Hope Foundation.
Xiang encourages the girls to “enjoy hardship” when they start their careers. She says she when she was a young girl, she was able to put up with the heat of the kitchen, and was willing to decipher European recipes, because she loved what she was doing, and because her personality did not allow her to succumb to defeat.
Bright and hard-working, Xiang did everything her supervisor asked of her, and was soon working at five-star hotels like the Parkview and the Grand Hyatt. This helped her to improve on different levels.
Xiang told the visiting girls that the keys to success are to “always be ready” and “make as many friends as you can.”
Formosa Daughter Award Winner
Chia-yu was a winner at the 3rd Formosa Daughters Awards. In a letter to the Garden of Hope Foundation about her life at The Citadel military college in South Carolina, USA, she thanked the Foundation for organizing a study tour to Thailand, and offering her a sponsorship in 2007. Chia-yu says the cadet lifestyle helped her grow personally and made her self-disciplined at work.
Comparing herself to American students, Chia-yu says the language barrier and physical limitations did not discourage her, but motivate her even more to complete her four-year course and get through the tough examinations.
The graduate adds that she was touched learned that a young Australian man is riding around Taiwan to raise money for the Garden of Hopes project to build women’s shelters in remote areas. She writes, “I find myself needing to do something for the Garden of Hope. I collected a small donation in pennies from my living expenses and would love to give it to you for the women and girls in need.”