I am Loveness from Luapula province, Zambia, and a member of the national Youth Advisory Panel with Plan International Zambia. I have arrived in Geneva in Switzerland as part of a worldwide Girls Takeover of people in power on the International Day of the Girl on 11 October.
On Tuesday 11 October, I will take over the role of Plan International’s CEO, Anne–Brigitte Albrectsen for the afternoon. I will be chairing a global strategy meeting instead of her, and help advise on the future direction of the organisation. By stepping into her shoes for a day, I will try to show the world what girls can achieve, today and in the future, and ensure that girls’ voices are heard.
I am particularly focused on raising awareness of the dangers of child marriages and teenage pregnancies, and the impact these have on girls’ education. This issue is very close to my heart.
Learning about girls’ rights
In my country many girls don’t get quality education and the school fees are too high for most of the children from the communities that are poor.
When my mother and father died in 2006, life became difficult for me and I had to stop going to school due to financial problems. I spent two years out of school and started staying with my step-sister who used to treat me badly. I never had time to interact with my friends, and attending lessons daily at school was a challenge. Life is really hard for many orphans.
When I turned 12, I learned that my rights were being violated and I was being discriminated against. I decided to report my step-sister to the victim support unit of the Zambian Police. My step-sister was counselled by the police and told to start supporting me and providing for me. After that, life became a bit more bearable and I started working hard at school so that I could complete my education.
I know that education is the key to my success in life. I now want to encourage all youths to value the time they spend in school and to work hard. It can make all the difference in their lives.
Girls’ rights are entitlements we girls enjoy by virtue of being human. They are important because they enable us to have equal opportunities, get a quality education and to have a better life. When we girls are educated, there is a greater chance our children will also be educated. This helps to eradicate poverty in our families, because as we all know, when you educate a girl, you educate the nation.
Girls’ right to lead
Girls’ rights also help to protect us from being violated and discriminated against and encourage us to take part in decision-making processes at all levels.
I hope by telling more people about my life, I will encourage more girls to get an education and understand how important having an education is. By being the CEO of Plan International for a day, I hope to get this message across loud and clear.
All in all, I am hoping that the takeover will help me contribute in advocating for girls’ rights, especially in taking on leadership positions in groups and in other positions in society.
My aspirations in time are to become an advocate or ambassador on girls’ rights