Chennai, 9th October 2015: As the International Day of the Girl Child is being observed on October 11th across the world, girl children in India continue to voice their concerns in a bid to be heard. The UN observance that has the theme of ‘Power of the adolescent Girl: Vision 2030,’ stresses on the importance of the right of adolescent girls to a safe, educated and healthy life. World Vision India, a child-focussed NGO has brought out a compilation of letters written by young girls, highlighting their needs and aspirations. Titled ‘From Me to You’, the collection features letters written by girls from 25 states of the country, and reminds decision makers what the country owes them.
“My sister Indu got married at the age of 15,” writes Sonal from Gujarat, adding that she would continue her studies,
unlike her sister. “People from higher castes do not let people from lower castes enter their homes,” writes Pinky from Uttarakhand. Among the needs stressed by the girls, access to higher education, toilets, prevention of early marriages and gender bias seem to rank high consistently across the different states. Meena from Vellore, Tamil Nadu, is disturbed by the lack of proper sanitation facilities in her school. The school toilet does not have water and are dirty, she says. She is also bothered by the poor drainage in her village, and fears that the water stagnation would lead to breeding of mosquitoes and lead to “the spread of harmful diseases.”
The release of the book comes at a time when the world is gearing up to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of targets proposed by the United Nations, to be fulfilled by 2030. With gender equality, quality education and good health featuring in the SDGs, India would be honouring its commitments if the girls’ voices are paid attention to. “The stories give an insight into what the girl children of our country really feel. Poverty in India is feminine – girls and women are the most affected in vulnerable situations. Empowerment of girls needs to be an approach to comprehensive development, rather than being reduced to an activity. With the Sustainable Development Goals now in place, it is imperative that none of our girls are left behind,” said Reni Jacob from World Vision India.
World Vision India plans to take this forward, using this compilation as a tool to engage the government representatives and key influencers across the country on issues concerning the girl children.
The book can be accessed through this link: From me to you, World Vision India
World Vision India is a Christian grassroots humanitarian organisation that serves all people regardless of religion, caste, race, ethnicity or gender. Through development, relief and advocacy, we strive to create lasting change in the lives of children, their families and communities living in contexts of poverty and injustice. World Vision works in nearly 100 countries worldwide, and we have been in India since 1962. Today we work in over 6200 urban, rural and tribal communities spread over 163 districts across 25 states impacting the lives of 26 lakh children.