I have arrived in Geneva, Switzerland from Zambia for the International Day of the Girl, where I will be a director for a day. Girls are taking over Geneva!
I will be one of five Plan International youth advisors in Geneva, and one of hundreds of us around the world, who will be taking over the job of a leader for a short time. Together, we girls want to be in places of power, and be in spaces where our voices are not usually heard. We want to tell the world about our rights.
Taking over to promote girls' education
I am taking over the role of Marilena Viviani, Director of Unicet Geneva Liaison Office. I will be co-chairing an office meeting with her and supporting preparations for an upcoming event, brainstorming in a small team on child participation and engagement for children’s rights. This is an amazing opportunity for me to step into her shoes, learn more about what Unicef is doing to promote children’s rights to education. I also look forward to sharing my experiences on issues concerning girls, especially child marriages.
I am doing this takeover because I am passionate about my rights as a girl and especially girls’ rights to not marry at a young age.
My elder sister Brenda, who is now 23, faced many challenges and she has inspired me. Brenda started school in 2000 at Kapara Basic School, when she was seven years old. Mum and Dad encouraged her to put a lot of effort into her schooling. At that time she had a great chance to get educated and to build her future.
In 2008, when Brenda was in Grade 9, she started going out with a man. She got pregnant while she was still at school. Then she stopped going to school and got married to him, but the marriage didn’t last long and they got divorced after her son was born. Brenda and her son are still suffering today. She has to keep begging for things because she does not have any source of income to support herself and her son.
After seeing my sister’s challenges, I am encouraged to put more of an effort in my schooling. Most of my relatives are not educated and I am the only one who intends to get well educated.
A voice against child marriage
I have decided to encourage my fellow youths to not get married early. Early marriage brings more harm than good. Also, we youths, especially girls, must see education as the key to our success. We need to set our minds to achieving our goals. We must make our world better by taking part in activities that support our rights, especially the right to education.
By taking over the position of Unicef director for a day, I hope to be more visible for a day, to have my voice heard on girls’ rights and education, and spread the word to end child marriages.