“You think we can make it?”
“We have 10 minutes and we are 6 blocks away.”
“I think we have to run.”
“Let’s do it!”
And so two women ran the streets of New York (with tiny heels on) just to make it to the United Nations during the its 71st General Assembly. Some things are too precious to walk towards, you just have to run even in your heels. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 10 isn’t quite focused on running in heels, but it is focused on inequalities. And women and girls face a multitude of inequalities especially within the refugee population. In spite of their perilous situations, these girls have a thirst for education and eagerly run towards it.
Women and girls need a myriad of things from love and support to opportunities and mentors. We need access to resources, quality education and initiatives that foster and highlight leaders within the family unit, the community, and society as a whole. Most importantly we need education – and by education I mean good education. The type of education that makes you think critically; it emboldens you and makes you believe you can solve any problem. Quality education will mold leaders, thinkers and advocates that are empathetic and tell you:
Think about what you think will inspire others and let’s do that!
Julia Wiklander, Founder, Girls’ Globe
Zaynab Abdi is a refugee of Somali and Yemeni descent. In a radio interview and at the Social Good Summit she told the audience about the tumultuous details of her journey to the U.S. and the various roadblocks she encountered along the way. She left her home in Yemen after the rapid deterioration in 2011, and stayed with family in Egypt. However, the conditions in Egypt were also unsteady. So, she sought refuge in the U.S. and many years later she reunited with her mother. In her interview, she discussed the need for a sense of normalcy among refugees. After experiencing so many devastating things, she just wanted to be reminded of the happy things in life. Her happy thoughts consisted of returning to high school. Once she returned she excelled; her story is just one of many examples of refugees and displaced people seeking a small sense of hope and calm in the elements of life that we often take for granted.
According to Under Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, “this is largest wave of global displacement since WWII.” The UN High Commissioner for refugees states that we are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record which consists of 21.3 million people. This large group of diverse people may include young women and girls who are innovators, great thinkers and thought leaders; however, without access to sustained periods of quality education reaching their full potential may be deterred. “Only 1% of young refugees end up in universities, and a small percent go to secondary school,” says BBC journalist Alan Kasujja. This is a stark and evident inequality and although the short term effects may not highlight this, the long term effects will surely spotlight the millions of people without hope. Because education is simply that when you say to yourself – if I just had the chance, the possibility, the opportunity. Hope in a classroom.
My aunt once told me something that I think every women and girl needs to hear every once in awhile:
You are braver, stronger and smarter than you think!
Zaynab Abdi told everyone how brave she was and expressed her desire to continue her education. She reminded the audience that she had key skills and she is worth investing in.
So now it’s your turn. Remind someone today that they are braver, stronger and smarter – they are Girls’ Globe.
Cover photo credit: India Girls Banner on Flickr