At Girl Rising, we have always believed that stories are the key to changing the way the world views girls and women, and their right to education. This International Day of the Girl, the Girl Rising community is amplifying the stories of girls and their allies throughout the month of October.
From October 1 through 11, Girl Rising has been sharing a story each day focused on an individual fighting for girls’ rights as a part of our 11 Days of Stories campaign. Tomorrow, on International Day of the Girl, we invite you to join us in advocating for girls' right to education! Share your artwork, poetry, videos – whatever storytelling medium speaks to you. Use it to tell your personal story on why you advocate for girls’ right to education. Use the hashtag #11DaysofStories to join the Girl Rising community on this campaign.
The collective power of our stories can be the catalyst for action towards prioritizing girls and their rights. Here are stories of 11 individuals sparking change in their community:
Meet 13-year-old Changemaker, Nancy Sarfo, from Ghana
As a part of Girl Rising's Financial Education Initiative (FEI) in Ghana, she discovered the power of her voice and agency, and also became a fierce advocate for other girls like her younger sister.
When her sister was advised to give up her dream of becoming a flight attendant for 'more realistic' aspirations like becoming a seamstress, Nancy championed her sister's dreams as valid and worth pursuing. Nancy shared her FEI knowledge– educating her sister about gender biases, her rights, self-advocacy, and the ability to save for her dream career in the airline industry - whether as a pilot, engineer, or flight attendant. She’s learned that education and financial literacy provide options and control of her future. Together they successfully changed the mindsets of their family and gained support for their passions.
Through the FEI, Nancy has developed the financial literacy skills to manage her own funds for her career goal of becoming a judge. Nancy believes that as a judge, she can ensure justice in her community and advocate for many. Through her perseverance, self-confidence, and acquired skills, Nancy has the potential to make a transformative impact on her entire community. Watch her story in her own words here.
Meet 19-year-old Period Activist, Tracy, from Kenya
When Tracy noticed her female relatives facing challenges managing menstruation amidst rising costs in Kenya, she saw potential solutions in her fashion design education.
Tracy ingeniously crafted reusable menstrual supplies and guided her community in creating their own cost-effective menstrual management tools. She emerged as a strong advocate for breaking down period stigma, mobilizing her community to foster open conversations about reproductive health.
Tracy embodies our belief at Girl Rising: a single girl can ignite positive change in her community. Hear about her period activism here.
Meet Kenyan Conservationist Fighting for Equity
While progress has been made in creating pathways for women in STEM, the gender gap persists in the conservation sector. Meet Kenyan Wildlife Conservationist Victoria Wanjohi, dedicated to expanding opportunities for girls and women in conservation.
Victoria is the founder and editor of Nyika Silika, an award-winning environmental communication platform, and co-founder of Biophilic Conversations, inspiring African youth to join the conservation community. She currently serves as Director and Impact Communications at TonyWild Center. Explore Victoria's wildlife work as told by her here.
Meet Young Indian Poet Creating Awareness about Sexual Harassment
For countless girls and women, the simple act of accessing quality education or going to work becomes a daunting challenge as they navigate pervasive sexual harassment and sexual assault.
Jeeya Thukral, a young poet participating in Girl Rising's partner program, Slam Out Loud, offers a powerful glimpse into the life of an Indian woman today. She narrates the experiences of witnessing a world that often blames victims of sexual assault, vilifies girls and women who advocate for their rights, and erects barriers that hinder them from competing on an equal footing with their male counterparts.
Girl Rising and Slam Out Loud have joined forces, leveraging the transformative power of creative arts—through theater, storytelling, or spoken word poetry—with youth in India's most marginalized communities. Through these artistic mediums, young people build essential skills such as communication, critical thinking, and empathy. Listen to her spoken word advocacy here.
Meet Filmmaker Amplifying Stories of Girls and Women
Afghan women living across the globe are breaking the silence and standing in solidarity with the millions of girls and women in Afghanistan who have lost their rights under the oppressive rule of the Taliban.
In her latest video, Afghan filmmaker, poet, human rights activist, and dedicated member of the Girl Rising community, Aryan Shory (@aryanshory), brings together a resilient community of Afghan girls and women worldwide. They are using their stories and experiences to advocate passionately for the rights of Afghan girls and women who are now living in the darkness of oppression.
Together, they shine a light on girls and women in Afghanistan, where access to education, bodily autonomy, and fundamental rights has been unjustly denied. See their stories here.
Meet Kenyan Environmental Educator Advocating for Girls' Rights
Elsie Ashiono, a Kenyan environmental educator, visited Amboseli National Park with a mix of emotions. She marveled at the park's beauty but was also disheartened by the damage caused by climate change, leading to droughts and famine.
These climate events are hurting local communities, especially girls who face high dropout rates from school and forced marriages. Elsie, who values the traditional wisdom of land stewardship and wildlife protection passed down through generations, believes that girls can play a unique role in environmental protection. Unfortunately, climate-related barriers hinder their education and involvement.
Elsie, as an environmental educator, urges her community to recognize girls' education as a solution to climate challenges. She notes, "Currently, there aren't enough girls and women in environmental work due to educational barriers that limit exposure to scientific disciplines. Gender stereotypes also play a role, with many believing that girls lack the power to make a difference. We must create more opportunities for girls and women in environmental protection." Watch her story here.
Meet Indian Advocate Shining a Light on Homelessness
Homelessness is a profound challenge, one that extends far beyond the absence of a roof over one's head. It's a harsh barrier that not only strips away shelter but also deprives girls of their basic rights to safety, privacy and education. In this story, meet Nazma, a remarkable teenager who, against all odds, refused to let the circumstances of homelessness dictate her destiny. Watch her story here.
Meet Kenyan Wildlife Conservationist Championing Girls' Leadership
Phoebe Matunda fell in love with nature and wildlife in her childhood as she talked to her grandmother about elephants for hours. She grew up to be an environmentalist conservationist who equips young people who share her passion with skills and knowledge to lead conservation efforts in their communities.
Phoebe believes that solving problems in conservation and climate change starts with empowering young people – especially girls. Around the world girls are trained to be stewards of land, caretakers of animals, and supporters of households. As a result, they bring an abundance of lived experiences to solving environmental challenges.
Phoebe is championing the next generation of changemakers as Programs Director of Stand Up Shout Out, a youth environmental action, movement, and Co-Found of Own Your Crown, a girls’ leadership and empowerment organization. Watch how she is inspiring change in her community.
Meet Kenyan Wildlife Biologist Advocating for Maasai Girls' Rights
The Maasai people, known for their nomadic way of life and deep connection to wildlife and the land, face an unprecedented challenge – the relentless impact of climate change. Meet Collins Busuru, a Kenyan Wildlife Biologist, Conservation Educator, and Future Rising Fellow. Since 2019, he's been working closely with the Maasai community, witnessing their resilience in the face of mounting climate-related challenges.
On Indigenous People's Day, we celebrate the invaluable wisdom of the Maasai people and why it's crucial to include their insights in creating effective climate action plans. Share this post to amplify the importance of involving Indigenous communities in local, regional, and global decision-making. Hear the stories of Maasai people in Collins' own words.
Meet a Sister and Brother Fighting Forced Marriages in Ethiopia
There's no limit to what girls can achieve when they have the support and resources they need. Azmera's story is proof of this as she, along with her brother, challenges the norms of forced marriage in Ethiopia, finding their own voice and agency.
Across the world, millions of girls still face barriers that hold them back from living life on their own terms and realizing their full potential. These barriers include gender biases, conflicts, public health crises, and more. A better world begins with unlocking the incredible potential of girls.
Student Ambassadors Speak Up on International Day of the Girl
Inspired by the original “Girl Rising” film, students and staff at Quincy High School in Massachusetts founded the Quincy High Girl Rising club, a dynamic youth-led initiative dedicated to championing the rights of girls and women. Over the years, club members have organized fundraisers in support of various girls’ and women’s rights organizations, including Girl Rising.
Around the globe, Girl Rising student ambassadors are igniting change on pressing issues like period poverty, food scarcity, climate change, and more.
This International Day of the Girl, we celebrate these young leaders and advocates for girls' rights worldwide who are tirelessly working to turn gender equality into a reality for all. Tune in tomorrow to our social media @girlrising to see this story.