Celebrating Girls: They Conquer the World
THP-Bangladesh has designed a week of activities leading up to the celebration of “National Girl Child Day” on September 30, 2013. Since 2000, THP-Bangladesh and the National Girl Child Advocacy Forum have celebrated National Girl Child Day each year as part of the annual Children’s Rights Week. This year, as in the past, THP-Bangladesh is partnering with the Shishu Academy to jointly undertake several activities in anticipation of the day. The Shishu Academy is a national academy for children in Bangladesh, established in 1976 for promoting cultural development of children.
National Girl Child Day activities take place at the national level through a unified campaign engaging a broad network through rallies, marches and media coverage in the discussion on the critical importance of providing better health, education and nutrition to girls. At the local level, National Girl Child Day is celebrated among people’s associations, NGOs, and local governments so that all Bangladeshis can participate.
The rally on September 30 will inaugurate National Girl Child Day, featuring the Honorable Ms Meher Afroz Chumki, State Minister of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA). The rally will start at the National Museum, Shahbagh and end at the Bangladesh Shishu Academy. In past years, the rally has engaged thousands of civil society organizations, government officials, school children and community members.
Following the rally, THP-Bangladesh Country Director Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar will chair a discussion session, featuring chief guest Ms Meher Afroz Chumki (State Minister, MoWCA) and special guests Mr Tariq-ul-Islam (Secretary, MoWCA), Mr Sheikh Abdul Ahad (Chairman, Bangladesh Shishu Academy) and Ms Mili Biswas (Deputy Inspector of Police, Dhaka Metropolitan Police). Discussants will include activists, cultural icons and civil society members. Awards will be given to the children aged 3-16 who participated in the art competition, creating around themes such as family, school, and girls’ relationship with nature, to encourage their articulation of their role in society.
On October 2nd, Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar will moderate a round table on Preventing Child Marriage and Keeping Girls at School. Guest speakers include the President of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (Women’s Council of Bangladesh) Ms Ayesha Khanam, and Director General of Bangladesh Television Mr. M Hamid.
The series of events will culminate in the debate competition. The Chairman of Debate for Democracy Mr. Hasan Ahmed Chowdhury Kiron will moderate the debate on ending child marriage through awareness raising, rather than enactment of laws.
The Hunger Project is committed to social development that takes place at the local level. Through awareness activities such as National Girl Child Day, THP-Bangladesh hopes to engage citizens at all levels throughout Bangladesh, inviting them to directly participate in campaigns that shape their communities and the futures of their children.
These celebrations for National Girl Child Day in Bangladesh are even more fitting as we all celebrate International Day of the Girl Child on October 11. The International Day of the Girl Child was designated by a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2011, to recognize girls’ rights and highlight the unique challenges girls face worldwide. For its second observance, this year’s Day will focus on “Innovating for Girls’ Education.”
The fulfillment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative. There is also overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves: it is the one consistent positive determinant of practically every desired development outcome, from reductions in mortality and fertility, to poverty reduction and equitable growth, to social norm change and democratization.
We are thrilled with the United Nations' recognition of this important day to raise awareness about the rights of girl children so we can put an end to the discrimination that leads to girls eating last and least, being forced into early marriage and dropping out of school. When girls have the opportunity to be educated and healthy, society as a whole benefits. Together, let's support girls in reaching their potential and growing into powerful leaders who will create a new future for their families, communities, countries and our world.