S. Burlington student rallies women from Montpelier to Ethiopia

October 11, 2017
               News

S. Burlington student rallies women from Montpelier to Ethiopia

Nicole Higgins DeSmet, Free Press Staff WriterPublished 1:10 p.m. ET Oct. 11, 2017 | Updated 4:47 p.m. ET Oct. 11, 2017

6:408:01 "The enemy has always been here," Local girls express how it is to be Muslims and Americans

Four high school slam poets from Burlington and South Burlington head to national competition in Washington D.C. with tales of their struggles as Muslim Americans. RYAN MERCER/FREE PRESS

A South Burlington High School student rallied female advocates from Ethiopia to Montpelier to talk about empowering girls to fulfill their chosen destinies through education — in conjunction with Wednesday's global holiday aimed at highlighting the challenges girls face.

The United Nations in 2011 declared Oct. 11 as International Day of the Girl Child to awaken people across the world to step up on policies to improve girls’ lives. Most events are organized by young women like senior Kiran Waqar.

RELATED: Muslim Girls speak up for change

Waqar, through the education-based non-profit RESULTS, helped bring Ethiopian gender-activist Selamawit Adugna Bekele to talk about educating girls. 

"Last week, people were upset wondering what the impact of missing school during a strike would be. Imagine that insecurity every day," Waqar said speaking of the teacher's strike which was averted in South Burlington.

Wagar was a co-founder of the Muslim Girls Making Change poetry slam group in 2015 with the mission of taking charge of their own narratives as young American Muslim women. The performance group has been advocating for social justice ever since.

Bekele represents a Ghana-based organization which works on social justice issues all over Africa, specifically since 2012 she has worked to reduce women's poverty through education. 

Bekele said that one year of education can make a 10 percent impact on a person's life trajectory, according to a 2009 global report by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

"The percentage is higher for marginalized people as they use education to break through social barriers," Bekele said, explaining that educating girls, helps reduce women's poverty.

"Education is a social vaccine," Waqar added after Bekele described the impact of education in some parts of Africa on recruitment into violent war bands.

One year of education in Sierra Leone can reduce the chances of a kid joining militia group, according to Bekele.

"Especially in Vermont global poverty can seem so far away, but people all over the country are proving they can make a difference," Wagar said.

She and Burlington High School's Hawa Adams organized a local chapter of RESULTS and they hope to inspire Vermont's congressional delegation to ask the administration to make a pledge of $337.5 million over three years to the Global Partnership for Education, which works worldwide to get children into schools.

The talk is 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the South Burlington High School multipurpose room.

Find out more about Muslim Girls Making Change here and the Burlington chapter of RESULTS here.

BUR20160524MGMC6

Buy PhotoHawa Adam, from left, Lena Ginawi, Kiran Waqar and Balkisa Abdikadir of Muslim Girls Making Change perform at ArtsRiot in Burlington on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (Photo: GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS)

Contact Nicole Higgins DeSmet at ndesmet@freepressmedia.com or 802-660-1845. Follow her on Twitter @NicoleHDeSmet.

SOURCE : BURLINGTON FREE PRESS

Related Posts