(Co-written with Njideka Raleke-Obiora)
The United Nations in 2012 introduced 11th October as the International Day for the Girl Child, a day set aside to promote the girl’s human rights, evaluate the inequalities still existing between girls and boys and the many types of discrimination and abuses suffered by the girl child across the world. This day is duly marked since then with a special theme each year.
2012 was themed, “Ending Child Marriage”, 2013 was “Innovating for Girls’ Education” and now 2014 is “Empowering adolescent girls; Ending the cycle of violence”.
It is such an enlightening theme to come up with this year seeing that, despite the advancement of technology and the many intellectual developments across the globe, such an important issue as violence against the girl child has not been totally addressed. One day might not be enough to discuss an issue as serious as this, but we appreciate that UN is taking a lead step in this agenda.
2014 has typically had records of rape, abduction, murder, internet bullying and many other unwholesome and demeaning acts meted out on girls all over the world. In Nigeria, today marks 180 days since over 200 school girls were abducted by the Boko Haram terrorist group! We remain expectant of their rescue, and continue to pray for God to empower our leaders with the wisdom, knowledge, understanding and force needed to deliver our children from the hands of these terrorists. Despite the help from abroad, we know that deliverance must come from our internal efforts; less our complacency brings about our nation’s downfall.
We at Fair Life Africa believe that clear cut efforts should be made to curb this societal menace against the girl child. We lend more than our voice to the global call to make the world safer for the girl child by empowering her in all ways to stand and be protected from all forms of violence. Through the Disadvantage To Advantage Initiative, we have taken practical steps to empower some disadvantaged, but gifted girls, by sponsoring their education and vocational studies from their adolescent years through to early adulthood. We are hopeful that our small efforts, matched with other charities, organisations and even individuals, will result in more empowered girls and greater equality in society.