Education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility.
January 24th 2019 was designated as the International Day of Education by the United Nations in celebration of the role education plays in promoting and supporting peace and development. The UN recognised that without inclusive and equitable high-quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries across the globe will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youths and adults behind. Sadly, 258 million children and youths still do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic maths; less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school. Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable.
This year’s International Day of Education will be celebrated on Monday 25th January and the theme is’ ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation’ and UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization along with other organisations has spearheaded a ‘Learning Planet Festival’ to celebrate learning in all contexts and share innovations that fulfil the potential of every learner, no matter what their circumstances.
Soroptimist International (SI) and SIGBI both have consultative status at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations, and as we work to ‘educate, empower and enable’ women and girls throughout the world, all Soroptimist Clubs undertake projects to support education locally, nationally or internationally.
One such project is the SI President’s Appeal 2019-2021, ‘The Road to Equality’, which focuses on taking ‘Action and Advocating’ on topics affecting women and girls, including Child Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation, Domestic Violence, Rights of Older Women, Migration, and Human Trafficking and incorporates a mix of projects on these topics.
The first Project on The Road to Equality, was a partnership with Global Media Campaign to End FGM, who train and support activists in Africa, changing norms and mindsets within their own communities to end FGM.
The SI Road to Equality has provided a grant of £15,000 in the form of Direct Action Grants to fund six graduates – the Soroptimist Six – in their fight against FGM. Our donations are now empowering the young women with valuable tools and opportunities to gain airtime on radio and television, accelerate their message, and become a voice for the voiceless, as they drive forward the campaign to END FGM.
The next project in the pipeline on the Road to Equality is in support of Shreeja India’s Beyond Football program. The programme is designed to engage, educate and enrich first-generation learner tribal girls aged 10-18, in West Bengal, towards empowering and enabling them to unlock their potential in life. The integrated development model Beyond Football involves imparting intensive football coaching, where the girls develop supportive relationships, as well as receiving enriched out of school education, raising awareness of topics such as: child marriage, trafficking, and violence against women and introducing the girls to digital literacy skills.
The Beyond Football program will not only impart high quality education but also equip the girls to become independent, fight social evils and lead a dignified life.
Would you like to help support this project and many more like it?