Empowering Girls

Empowering Girls: Transforming Lives and Shaping a Brighter Future

In the annals of world history, the relentless pattern of the strong preying upon the weak and vulnerable remains an unfortunate reality. Among the most vulnerable are women, who often bear the brunt of exploitation due to their comparatively lesser physical strength. Their marginalized status in numerous societies further exposes them to oppression and victimization. However, within this context, one segment of society stands out as exceptionally susceptible to unimaginable abuse: girls.[1]

Beyond their inherent physical vulnerability, empowering girls across the globe becomes paramount in ensuring their rights and protection, particularly in traditional cultures where they often find themselves positioned at the lowest rungs of the social hierarchy.[2] As children, girls tend to exhibit trust and obedience during their formative years, rendering them even more susceptible to the harmful impact of girls’ exploitation and abuse.

A Life of Hardship

Obstacles to girls’ education intensify for those in impoverished families, exacerbating the challenges they face. The burdens of daily life disproportionately burden female family members. They’re often expected to stay home and handle menial chores while men seek paid work. A girl in a poor family might spend her day preparing food, tending crops, caring for babies, or fetching water from a distant source. To supplement the family income, she might scavenge saleable items from local trash dumps or collect resources from the countryside to sell. Distressingly, she may even be compelled to engage in the sale of her sexuality, perpetuating a cycle of exploitation.

When Traditions Become Toxic

Certain cultural traditions inflict even more suffering on girls. Child marriages, still common in many places, pair young girls as young as eight with older men or even young boys,[3] exposing them to premature sexual activity and lifelong servitude. Childhood activities are cut short, replaced by the burdens of adulthood. Early childbirth can be especially dangerous for young girls, with complications from pregnancy and childbirth being the leading cause of death for girls aged 15 to 19, taking the lives of approximately 70,000 adolescent girls each year.[4] 

Female genital mutilation, practiced in some cultures, aims to deprive girls and women of physical pleasure that might lead to infidelity. According to the World Health Organization, at least 200 million women and girls, most of them under 15, have undergone this procedure. The practice is painful, medically unnecessary, and can lead to various long-lasting physical, emotional, and social problems.[5]

Among the most horrific injustices inflicted on girls is “honor killing,” which occurs in certain Asian, Middle Eastern, and North African communities. This ultimate punishment is carried out when a girl or woman is judged to have dishonored her family, often by committing adultery or merely showing interest in a man. Shockingly, this practice is still legal in some countries and tacitly approved in others, while the male perpetrators often go unpunished.[6]

In the face of these daunting challenges, it is crucial that we take action and stand up for the rights and well-being of girls worldwide. Together, we can make a difference and bring about positive change. Join GFA World in our unwavering commitment to empower and uplift girls in Asia and Africa.

By sponsoring a girl, you can become the driving force behind girls’ education empowerment, igniting transformation in her life. Through your support, she will receive essential resources such as free medical check-ups, nutritious food, access to clean water, school supplies, uniforms, and more. Moreover, your encouragement will instill in her the belief that she is loved and cherished, enabling her to dream of a future where she can break the cycle of poverty and create a better life for herself and her family. Take the step today and sponsor a girl, for together we can create a world where every girl’s potential is realized, and her future is filled with hope, love, and opportunity.

Learn more about the pandemic impact on children

[1] UNICEF. 2022. “Sexual Violence against Children.” www.unicef.org. June 23, 2022. https://www.unicef.org/protection/sexual-violence-against-children.
[2] Relebohile Moletsane. 2017. “‘Cultural’ Practices Continue to Force Girls out of School: Time to Act Decisively.” Brookings. Brookings. March 7, 2017. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/education-plus-development/2017/03/07/cultural-practices-continue-to-force-girls-out-of-school-time-to-act-decisively/.
[3] Film: The Youngest Bride. Journeyman TV. https://www.journeyman.tv/film_documents/5951/transcript/. Accessed May 25,2022.
[4] Mayer, Susan. Pregnancy and childbirth are leading causes of death in teenage girls in developing countries. PubMed Central. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC411126/. May 15, 2004.
[5] What is female genital mutilation? 7 questions answered. UNICEF. https://www.unicef.org/stories/what-you-need-know-about-female-genital-mutilation. March 4, 2019.
[6] Dailey, J. Douglas. Honor Killing. Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/honor-killing. Accessed May 25, 2022.