Having taken part in a project to make Hanoi a safer city for girls, Duong Ha Trang is now a proud agent of change determined to build a safe and friendly community for girls.
Do you know that in Hanoi, only 13% of girls always feel safe in public spaces?
Duong Ha Trang, 14, is one of a few that dare to share their stories despite experiencing harassment on the way to school.
“In the past, I have encountered some problems, like running into perverts, or even being harassed,” she says.
Girls’ safety at risk
Since being reconstructed, the wider road on the way to school still threatens girls’ safety due to a bridge and fences along the main road. A bus parking lot also often hosts workers from an industrial area and a drug rehabilitation centre.
These are all things Trang is working to change.
She takes part in a Champions of Change club that raises awareness among boys and girls about sexual harassment and gender equality and teaches girls self-defence.
The knowledge she has gained has helped her to challenge gender stereotypes within her own family which has led to her male cousin sharing the housework with her.
Trang’s story is just one in many cases. When it comes to harassment, witnesses tend not to interfere, and girls usually stay silent.
Safer cities for girls
Therefore, more actions are needed to protect girls’ safety and to teach them to value themselves, take action and speak out. In addition, boys and the wider community also need to take responsibility to help create a safer environment for girls.
Plan International’s project safer cities for girls in Hanoi works with girls, boys, public transport staff and the wider community to build safe spaces for girls. We support girls to take leadership roles and actively participate in changing their communities.
When asked how she felt to be involved in the project, Trang said, “Proud to be an agent of change and build a safer and more friendly community for girls and everyone.”