Polite persistent activists with School Girls Unite at Hammond Middle School pestered the White House Council on Women and Girls since last April with their request for a Presidential Proclamation for the UN International Day of the Girl. Barack Obama did not issue an official declaration on 10.11.12—the first ever girls’ rights day—and the government shutdown put the process in jeopardy. But they succeeded this year! Here is the correspondence and the 2013 presidential proclamation.
Bintou Soumaoro, who served four years as president of our sister organization in Mali, participated in the One Young World Summit in Johannesburg. She was selected to be one of the speakers at the opening plenary session. Her passion is evident as she addressed an audience of 1,300 in English demanding that Now it is time for world leaders to approach the Mali government and urge them to meet the Millennium Development Goals for education. Watch her five-minute speech which begins 44 minutes into this video below.
Seventeen-year-old Julia Fine, co-president of a School Girls Unite club, entered a national CNN essay contest: Why Malala’s bravery inspires us. Out of hundreds of submissions, 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai herself chose Julia’s essay! When Julia met this fearless Pakistani activist in NYC, Malala said this high school senior’s record of activism was the reason she selected her essay.
Awa is one of 55 girls in Mali sponsored year after year by School Girls Unite. This
17-year-old completed the 9eme annee in the Warala secondary cycle, despite numerous difficulties including losing both of her parents. Awa's school tuition and school supplies will increase next year. The support by Les Filles Unies leaders continues to be so important and a key reason why Awa continues to make such progress.
During this year’s Global Action Week, sponsored by the Global Campaign for Education, School Girls Unite split up to speak with Members of Congress and Senators. One team met with Representatives Becerra and Van Hollen (yes! met with them in person!), and the other met with staffers from Senators Collins, Mikulski, and Cardin’s offices. They all met to speak about the Education For All Act, a bill “that seeks to ensure that U.S. policy contribute to a successful international effort to provide all children with a quality basic education by assisting other countries, NGOs, and multilateral organizations, as well as promoting education as the foundation for community development.”
The meetings went well, the Representatives and staffers all responded positively. Hopefully education for all can become a reality!
Our sister organization in Mali announces new officers!
LA PRESIDENTE : FATOUMATA COULIBALY
LA SECRETAIRE GENERALE : MAIMOUNA KAMISSOKO
LA TRESORIERE : KOUMBA SANGARE
LA SECRETAIRE à L’INFORMATION : JEANNE KAMATE
One of the officers received a School Girls Unite scholarship to complete secondary school!
Les Filles Unies pour l’Education recently heard the girls who receive School Girls Unite scholarships talk about the difficulty studying at night in the dark. These incredible Malian leaders came up with a solution and School Girls Unite approved using our scholarship Fund to buy «torches» or lanterns and here are some photos. Please consider making a donation through Just Give to help us with this new expense.
In October 2012, middle schooler and member of School Girls Unite, Misbah Farooqi wrote a letter to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She wrote for the International Day of the Girl, and asked Secretary Clinton to "do everything possible to increase the number of programs to prevent girls from becoming brides around the world."
Secretary Clinton then responded! In January 2013, Misbah received a letter from the Secretary, thanking SGU for its work, and sharing her passion for girls' rights.
Read the letters for yourself below!
When members of Filles Unies visited the scholarship girls in Mali, they also answered a few questions! Check out this Q&A!
LA REPONSE DES FILLES UNIES POUR SCHOOL GIRLS UNITE SUR LES FILLES PARAINNEES :
What does it mean to abandon school?
«Abandonné» means a student stops going to school and there are many reasons. «Exclue» is for girls who had to repeat a grade three times and they stop going to school. In these villages, the parents are very poor. Besides not having money to pay the school fees, a major reason is girls do not go to school or drop out is their parents need to do domestic work (chores). Parents do not follow their daughters’ studies and the girls fail classes. Parents also are afraid their daughters might get pregnant (which is a major reason for early marriage).
With the new year, we'd like to update you on Les Filles Unies du Mali, and the scholarship girls! Members of Les Filles Unies, our sister chapter in Mali, recently visited some of the villages where 18 secondary and 35 primary students live, and caught up with them.
Nom : Maimouna Coulibaly
This is what Howard County School Girls Unite members presented at the Day of the Girl event at the Maryland Women's Heritage Center in Baltimore, MD on October 13, 2012!
Today… My name is Chantou and I am a 10-year-old Cambodian orphan. I want to go to school, but I must spend my days digging through trash to find food to eat and things to sell.
Tomorrow… My name is Chantou and I am 15-years-old. An aid agency has found me an orphanage and I am now able to go to school. My dream is to be a social worker and help keep kids like me off the streets.