By Elizabeth Usovicz, Rotary International Director, chair of Rotary’s Empowering Girls Task Force
What does it mean to be empowered? For girls throughout the world, empowerment is the ability to make choices and create positive change in their own lives, as well as in their families and communities.
Empowered girls become empowered women. Reaching out to the girls of our world is the heart and purpose of Rotary’s Empowering Girls Initiative. Our stories of supporting girls are interwoven with their stories of empowerment, like the story of Atupele, a girl in Malawi.
I was shocked and stunned as I sat in silence listening to the pain in my daughter’s voice. She was calling me from Kenya where she had travelled as a volunteer with an Australian volunteer organization.
She described witnessing first-hand the impact poverty was having on the health and wellbeing of families and especially the children she was working with. The main focus for her at that time was lack of education about puberty, sexual health, and sexual violence.
By Abdullah Al Fahad, immediate past president, Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchid, Bangladesh
Esara is a seven-year-old girl who lives in the Habiganj district of Bangladesh with her mother. She lost her father three years ago when he was killed in a traffic accident. They live on the income of her mother, who barely makes enough to put food on the table.
By Elizabeth Usovicz, Rotary International director for Zones 30&31, USA
October 11 is International Day of the Girl Child. Along with the United Nations, today is a day for Rotary members to support and celebrate the girls of our world by participating in Rotary International’s Empowering Girls initiative.
As the leader of a Vocational Training Team for a Rotary Foundation grant project, my team and I worked alongside teachers in Malawi to develop and deliver an after-school program in village primary schools. The program empowers children, especially girls, to stay in school.
By Sofía Brega, Rotary Positive Peace Activator and member of the Rotaract Club of Juárez Centro, Chihuahua, Mexico.
Growing up in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, I always knew I wanted to work on girl empowerment and the rights of women. I wanted to be an activist for women’s rights, and learned about Girl Up, an organization that strives to advance opportunities for girls to be leaders. It’s a club-based initiative that supports projects that focus on women’s rights and builds awareness of current challenges for women in Mexico and elsewhere.