On 11 October it’s International Day of the Girl.
This year’s theme is the power of the adolescent girl, so we thought we’d give you the chance to meet four inspirational girls from around the world who we’ve have had the privilege to meet.
Maya* from Yemen
Maya is 14 years old. Her family had to flee their home in Aden, Yemen to escape the violence there. She risked a treacherous boat journey to make it to Somalia with her family. Now she hopes to be reunited with their father, who is working in Saudi Arabia.
“I see a future with hope,” she says. “I want to grow up to have a lot of experiences and I want to feel joy.
“If Yemen gets better then we will go back. I hope there is peace in Yemen and I can go back and see my friends and open another chapter in my life with hope and peace.”
Lina* from Syria
Lina, 14, loves school but hates war, which has made it hard for her to study.
“I love school so much,” she says. “Studying in Syria is very hard. When there is shelling I can’t focus – I am scared and nervous the whole time.”
“Once I was doing an exam and suddenly a bomb dropped so close to the school that the windows broke and a piece of glass fell on my hand and cut it open. I was taken to hospital and had it stitched up.”
But Lina is determined to learn, and even when the family has no electricity, she continues to study by candlelight.
“I wish all wars in the world would end and that nobody would die anymore. Why do they make bombs? Why do they make weapons?”
Ayelech from Ethiopia
When Ayelech was 13, her mother agreed to marry her to a boy. After she told friends, who informed teachers, Ayelech’s school put a stop to the marriage. During all this time Ayelech’s grades had dropped and her mother soon realised that the marriage was wrong – she now supports her daughter and wants her to study.
“Before, I used to be very angry with my mother,” says Ayelech, who is now 16. “But after I realised it’s because she isn’t educated I let go of everything.”
Today Ayelech is doing well in school and is a member of a Girls’ Club.
“The club is always fighting for the rights of girls and their wellbeing. It feels good to be a part of such a club.”
Ayelech wants to become a doctor one day.
“We only have a small number of doctors in the country and I would like to be a doctor to help my people.”
Ruksana from India
Ruskana, 16, lives in a small shanty town in the slums in New Dehli.
Her parents didn’t go to school and neither does she. Instead, after her father died, she helped her mother raise the family.
She also earned money by attaching straps to slippers – her family would get one rupee for every 12 pairs of slippers.
Two years ago, she was enrolled in one of our education centres, which she attends every day. She’s now learning tailoring, so that she can eventually earn a living.
Donate now to help us continue our work with girls around the world.
*Names changed to protect identity.