Nominated Asian Girl Ambassador 2013 & 2014: Shraddha Mahat

Picture of Shradha

Name: Shraddha Mahat

Organization: Nepal’s Jagriti Child and Youth Concern Nepal (JCYCN)

Awards/Achievements: (1) Participant in Extra-Curricular Activities Promoting Children’s Rights (2) Strong Advocate for Girls’ Rights (3) Advocate for Girls’ Equal Right to Education (4) Works with Jagriti to Assist Helpless Girls Trapped in Early Marriage or Dangerous Situations

Introduction

JCYCN was formed by former child club activists and like-minded youths. This children’s club was the first of its kind in Nepal. I am also an active member of the Jagriti Child Club Nepal and have been part of JCYCN since 2010.

I always participate in extra-curricular activities like quiz contests, debate competitions, and speech competitions that are related to children’s rights. I do this both in school and outside school. I like to interact with social organizations, especially those related to girls. I have actively participated in many such programs related to girls. Continue reading

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Nominated Asian Girl Ambassador 2013: Zehra Shah (Finalist)

Syeda Zehra Shah's Photo

Name: Zehra Shah

Organization: Pakistan’s Human Resources Organization (HRO)

Awards/Achievements: 1) Facilitator for non-formal education; 2) Human rights education trainer; 3) Volunteer with different non-profit organizations

 

 

Introduction

I am from a Pathan family (same ethnic group as Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by extremists last year). In Pathan communities, girls are discouraged from going to school, and they face early marriages. I started volunteering at the age of 14, when I saw the discrimination between girls and boys. I have conducted seminars and facilitated sessions on young women’s empowerment and leadership. I also facilitated training for girls at government schools to help them understand their fundamental rights, as well as help develop their communication skills.

I want to continue this struggle for girls’ rights, so that women in my country will also be included in democratic processes in every sphere of life. I want to be a role model in my society and promote education, women’s and girls’ rights, young women’s leadership, and civic education among women and girls.

My organization, the Human Resources Organization (HRO), is an NGO formed and led by young, professional, well-educated activists from Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. All of the founding members were under 20 when the organization was created in 2008, so they did not immediately register it, but after two years, they wanted to have a legal identity and expand its work.

HRO started its work from human empowerment initiatives and started small, community-based educational institutes, providing free computer and language courses. HRO works with various education institutions to offer scholarships to poor students. HRO also works to improve the lives of poor students, child laborers and street beggars by providing skills-based training in things like automobile repair and the beautician field.

Today, HRO is a leading organization for other small-scale organizations. It also works on initiatives like advocacy and capacity building for SRHR and HIV/AIDS. HRO is harnessing the strong support of young people to work on anti-drug and harm-reduction awareness campaigns through different media outlets and networks. HRO involves young people in policy-making dialogues and supports them to raise their voices for their rights.

The Asian Girl Rights Ambassador program will be an opportunity for me to increase my exposure and experience, allowing me to learn from people around the world on how to fight for people’s rights. I will also share my experience of people in my country, so that others can understand our situation too. I will share my knowledge about my community work, how we face gender discrimination, how I implement my projects in the community, and the issues I face in my work, which arise from the negative stereotypes about girls who are active in the community system.

Nominated Asian Girl Ambassador 2013: Hoai Chu Thi Thu (Finalist)

Thu Hoai

Name: Hoai Chu Thi Thu

Organization: Vietnam’s Center for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender – Family – Women and Adolescents (CSAGA)

Awards/Achievements: 1) Survivor of domestic violence; 2) Advocate/volunteering to help disadvantaged people; 3) Model student at school with good grades

Introduction

When I was 13 years old, my mother was beaten to death by my father and his family members. The court had to review the case many times, but finally, with the support of voluntary lawyers and CSAGA reporters, all the people who caused the death of my mother were put into prison for seven to more than ten years. The CSAGA supported me and my brother financially until we were 18, and I now aspire to be a lawyer who protects the rights of vulnerable and marginalized people. To help me achieve that goal, I’m taking the University Entrance Exam for the Trade University’s Law Department. (Update: Hoai has passed her University exams with flying colors and will begin her studies in law when the semester begins.) I’m also volunteering as a social worker to serve disadvantaged people.

Violence against girls, including sexual abuse, is one of the most serious issues in my country. In 2011, the Vietnamese police discovered an adolescent prostitute network in Ha Giang Province and found that the leader of the network was a high school headmaster. This teacher forced many girls from grades 10 to 12 to have sex with him and then forced them to become prostitutes. In addition, domestic violence against women/girls is very common in Vietnam. According to national research on domestic violence in 2010, up to 58% of Vietnamese women have suffered from physical, psychological or economic violence.

I have given talks in school to share my story and encourage others to say no to violence. Why do I want to join the Ambassador program? Because I want to tell my story of violence to many people in Asia and encourage them to break the cycle of violence.