Eliminating Violence Against Women: A Responsibility We All Share

“Everyone has a responsibility to prevent and end violence against women and girls, starting by challenging the culture of discrimination that allows it to continue.”

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General, United Nations

Up to 7 in 10 women around the world will experience physical or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime, and in India, the threat of violence can begin even before a baby girl is born, with abortions of female foetuses leading to a gender imbalance across the country. In a further cruel twist of fate, one of the outcomes of this gender imbalance – that in some districts it is increasingly hard for men to find women to marry – has led to further violence and abuse of women and girls in the form of human trafficking.

As the BBC reports, bride trafficking has become prevalent, with girls bought from their families in other states while still young to be married to local men. The girls not only suffer numerous human rights violations such as being denied an education but they can also experience physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their husbands, essentially leading the life of slaves, and they may also be ostracised by the community who see them as outsiders.

With the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women taking place earlier this week, the BBC’s report The Story of India’s Salve Brides, in which it presents a number of short videos documenting the stories of those involved – a trafficked bride, an activist, but also a trafficker as well – goes some way to raising awareness of this critically important issue.

At LetzChange we are proud to be associated with a number of NGOs listed on our platform that are addressing both the causes and the consequences of human trafficking, and many others promoting the welfare and rights of women. One such NGO, Prerana (Mumbai) runs a rehabilitation programme where girls rescued from human trafficking are helped to recover from their physical and psychological wounds. The girls are also assisted with the legal aid process and receive vocational training in simple skills so that once they leave the centre they are more able to be self-reliant.

As Secretary General of the UN Bank Ki-moon says, the starting point for ending violence against women and girls is to challenge the culture and discrimination that allows it to continue. However, for many unfortunate women and girls across the country, that opportunity has been and gone. There is therefore a growing need to support NGOs such as Prerana that are picking up the pieces for these girls, supporting them on their long and arduous journey towards rehabilitation and a brighter future.

If you would like to stand by these girls too, please visit LetzChange to find out more and make a donation here.

Celebrate Independence Day with ClickToCare!

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As India celebrates its 68th Independence Day on Friday, we remain mindful that for millions of people across the country, independence is a dream yet to be realised. In particular, many of our country’s women and girls remain marginalised, discriminated against and dependent for life – a process that starts in childhood where education in poorer families is seen as a luxury that can only be afforded for boys, if at all.

Beyond the obvious and most important issue of equality, there are of course many, many reasons why education for girls is vitally important – for individuals, families and for society as a whole. Not only is education a human right, but research shows that when a girl stays in school her risk of child marriage decreases and her risk of dying during pregnancy or childbirth is significantly reduced as well (more benefits on this great infographic).

What’s more, women and girls spend 90% of their earned income on their family (versus 30-40% for men), and educating girls is also fundamental to a nation’s economic prosperity and development as well: when 10% more girls stay in school a country’s GDP increases by an average of 3%, while eliminating barriers to employment for women (education being perhaps the best way to do this) can result in a 25% increase in labour productivity (another great infographic!).

For all these reasons and more, this Independence Day, LetzChange launches a new campaign in partnership with Deepalaya with the aim of helping underprivileged girls from slum communities achieve independence through education.

From the 13-15 August, we’re cashing in your Facebook likes and shares and your Twitter retweets and mentions for donations towards Deepalaya’s project “Help to empower and educate a poor slum-girl.” All you have to do is #ClickToCare by liking, sharing and re-tweeting LetzChange Independence Day posts on social media, and we will donate to Deepalaya on your behalf – Simple Social Giving!

Click through to Facebook and Twitter now and let’s help bring independence to as many underprivileged girls as possible!

*Full instructions and terms & conditions can be found here.

Celebrating International Day Of The Girl Child

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On the 19th of December 2011, the United Nations declared the 11th of October each year to be International Day of the Girl Child. A day dedicated to recognising girls’ rights and the challenges they face every day around the world.

The theme of the 2013 commemoration according to the UN, “Innovating for Girls’ Education”, has been chosen to draw attention to the obligation and moral imperative to fulfil a girls’ right to education. Reports show that although progress has been made to encourage and ensure girls are receiving education, there is still a significant number who are being deprived of this basic right, particularly in India where discrimination against girls and women remains a deeply disturbing reality.

So, we ask the question, ‘Is it more important for a girl to reach her full potential? Or be pushed into an early marriage, stunting her emotional and mental growth?’

Babatunde Osotimehin, M.D, Executive Director, UNFPA, has said: “A girl who is married as a child is one whose potential will not be fulfilled. Since many parents and communities also want the very best for their daughters, we must work together and end child marriage.”

We feel that education is perhaps the best way for these marginalised girls to prosper in their future. Indeed, research shows that girls who stay in education for seven years or more marry 4 years later and have 2 fewer children.

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It’s for this reason that you’ll find so many projects on LetzChange dedicated to educating the Girl Child. From giving the gift of education to a disadvantaged girl to sponsoring a tribal girl to enter mainstream education, there are many ways for you to make a stand and get involved to help improve the lives of individuals, families and society as a whole. As the research complied by USAID in this infographic shows, “A woman multiplies the impact of an investment made in her future by extending benefits to the world around her, creating a better life for her family and building a strong community”.

This International Day of the Girl Child, why not take a look through the numerous NGO projects on LetzChange dedicated to educating girls and let’s see if together we can provoke a seismic cultural change towards this serious subject.