Bangladesh Honors Girl Children
On October 6, 2009, the tenth annual National Girl Child Day was celebrated across Bangladesh in more than 700 locations. Events were organized by the National Girl Child Advocacy Forum (NGCAF), a platform catalyzed by The Hunger Project (THP)-Bangladesh to take action for the end of discrimination against girls across the country. National Girl Child Day is a national strategy to improve the status of girls in Bangladeshi society, and this year's theme was "Let every girl child grow up in a safe and joyful environment."
Celebrations took place on the second day of Child Rights Week 2009. In Dhaka, the occasion was jointly hosted by the NGCAF and Bangladesh Shishu Academy, a government institution dedicated to preserving the rights and welfare of children. Despite pouring rain, a vibrant and colorful rally took place at 9:30 a.m. with over 1,500 participants, including girls and boys from different educational institutions, leaders and representatives from 60 NGCAF member organizations, and other distinguished individuals.
Most notably, Shirin Sharmin Choudhury, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, and Rokeya Sultana, Ministry Secretary, attended and spoke at the rally. Afterwards, everyone gathered at the Shishu Academy for a public forum on the rights of girl children, award presentations and a cultural performance.
President of NGCAF and THP-Bangladesh Country Director Badiul Alam Majumdar, presided over the event. THP Deputy Director and Secretary of NGCAF Nasima Akhter Joly gave the welcoming address. Prominent speakers included the Minister and Secretary for Women and Children's Affairs; the former secretary of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, Tahmina Hossein; and renowned cultural celebrity and writer, Imdadul Haq Milon. Dance and musical performances were presented by children from a variety of organizations, and prizes were distributed to winners of a national level essay and art competition.
National Girl Child Day garnered wide media coverage and is creating much-needed public awareness about the rights of girl children and women in Bangladesh.
Photo: Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, Shirin Sharmin Choudhury, speaks at the National Girl Child Day celebrations in Dhaka.