Month: February 2014

In the Field with the SEED Community

This is the third in a series of posts written by the SEED community chronicling their journey into the rural heartland of Limpopo, South Africa with 25 girls who are a part of the SEED program. The trip was a part of the urban/rural exchange filmed to capture the voice of young women of South Africa. The journey was documented through journal entries by SEED staff and each Friday for 5 weeks Girls’ Globe is publishing a new entry.  Day 5 Show time! Amidst the ululating of the community we find ourselves prostrate on the floor in honour to the chief. The performances are extraordinary. Song and dance are a platform for African women to share her voice. Their power captivates and intoxicates one’s senses. Dressed in traditional venda dress, their feet pound the earth, their voices carrying the melody of the untold stories that lie within. The issues of teenage pregnancies, rape, education and substance abuse are brought to life through short plays, poems and songs created and performed by each group. They do not hold back giving a raw portrayal …

From High Heels to Flip Flops

Written by: Valerie Handunge, Founder, Malini Foundation When I told my parents that I was going to “take a break from my career” to start a non-profit, there was mad chaos in the house. “How will you survive without a job?” they questioned. “I’ll use my savings,” I replied. “How long will you be away?” they asked. “About a year.” Even my college thesis advisor, a professor of human geography and a theorist on poverty, whose teachings has influenced my approach with the Malini Foundation, expressed concerns. If he’s “nervous for me,” as he put it, I probably should think twice about this decision. However, when I told my colleagues at work of my unorthodox plan most of them responded saying, “I’ve always wanted to do [fill in the blank] but never got around to it.” With that I said to myself (yes, sometimes I do that): “You live one life, so don’t let your passion fall through your fingers!” But, I thought, I’m going to give this one shot and that shot better kick …

Shine a Light on Slavery!

Last year I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Passion 2013 and be a part of the End It Movement launch. I attended the conference on behalf of She Is Safe who was a 2013 Freedom Partner. The End It Campaign was birthed from a movement of 60,000 college students who chose to shine a light on injustice and slavery. The mission of the movement is to ignite this generation to take a stand for the 27 million women, children and men who are currently enslaved in bonded labor, forced prostitution and domestic slavery. The End it Movement supports several coalition partners, including one of our featured organizations the International Justice Mission. The crowd fell silent as 60,000 lights illuminated the night. It was powerful to experience such a large number of young people shining a light and taking a stand against one of the most pervasive injustice issues of our time. This year I continue to take a stand against injustice, shine a light and raise my voice for those that are enslaved. As I wrote …

ETHIOPIA: ENDING NEWBORN DEATHS

By Haile Gebrselassie, Save the Children Child Ambassador, two-time Olympic Champion and four-time World Champion. Ethiopia, my country, is the cradle of humanity. The first stone tools were found here and Lucy, a 3 million year old skeleton and the first Homo sapiens, was found in the village of Hadar, on the southern edge of the Afar triangle. Our history is ancient and continuous. We are fiercely proud of the fact that we are the only African nation never to have been colonised. But like every nation our history is chequered and we have suffered. In 1983, when I was ten years old, the first flames of hunger were flickering throughout Ethiopia. It was that year my mother died due to birth related complications. In those days, in my village, this was not very unusual. My mother died following birth complications. The women of the village tried to help, but when I think back I realise that none of them really knew what they were doing. In so many ways, we have made progress in saving …

Harmful Traditional Practices: A Great Barrier to Women’s Empowerment

Harmful traditional practices (HTPs) exist in many different forms. These traditions reflect norms of care and behavior based on age, life stage, gender, and social class. While many traditions promote social cohesion and unity, others wear down the physical and psychological health and integrity of individuals, especially women and girls. Some of the major HTPs practiced in Africa include female genital mutilation (FGM), early/child marriage and son preference. These have received global attention due to their severe and negative impact on the health and well-being of girls. Efforts to alter or eradicate these practices are often met with suspicion or hostility from those communities practicing them, particularly when efforts originate from outside the community. According to the World Health Organization, female genital mutilation (FGM), a procedure involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons, is practiced in 28 African countries. Cutting ranges from removal of the clitoral hood to its most extreme form, infibulation, involving removal of the clitoris as well as some …

In the Field with the SEED Community

This is the second in  a series of posts written by the SEED community chronicling their journey into the rural heartland of Limpopo, South Africa with 25 girls who are a part of the SEED program. The trip was a part of the urban/rural exchange filmed to capture the voice of young women of South Africa. The journey was documented through journal entries by SEED staff and each Friday for 5 weeks Girls’ Globe will publish a new entry. Read the first post in the series here. Day  3: The heavens have opened! The rain is torrential, another blessing in the eyes of the Venda people. We are not so sure and arrive at the hall with the uncertainty of who will come back today. Slowly as the rain dissipates, the hall fills once more, the girls are chatty and eager to begin. Song fills the room, girls break into traditional dance, the atmosphere is electric. Music is their redemption and takes on a power that touches the soul. As the group discussions get under way, the local girls seem to …

INTERNSHIP: Creative Graphic Designer for Girls’ Globe

TIME flexible, 6 months START DATE March 1, 2014 LOCATION flexible/home based RENUMERATION unpaid JOB DESCRIPTION As a Graphic Designer Intern for Girls’ Globe, you will be involved in planning and creating content for Girls’ Globe online campaigns related to girls’ and women’s rights and health. You will have the ability to use your creativity in the creation of graphics, marketing material, stop-motion videos, and more. You will also be a part of contributing to the graphical web design of the Girls’ Globe online platform. You will be a part of Girls’ Globe’s core team, and report directly to Girls’ Globe’s Executive Director, working together with Girls’ Globe’s global network of bloggers and organizations, and other partners. You will also get exposure to international events and conferences within the realm of women’s and girls’ empowerment. Your tasks include: Take part in planning and participating in social media and online campaigns Create attention grabbing & informative infographics Create original and professional-looking Facebook cover photos, Twitter backgrounds, and Twitter cover photos Create artistic images integrating quotes and facts …

The Rise of Islamophobia and the Feminist Debate

After September 11 and the outbreak of the Arab spring, and as an effect of today’s wars in places like Afghanistan and Syria, the Muslim population migrating to the Western world has increased. With the increase of Muslim refugees we also have witnessed how parties from the political far right are gaining ground in several Western countries. These parties build their politics on hate against Muslims, where they target different human values depending on culture and religion. I believe these opinions construct racism and segregation in our societies, where the construction of “us” vs. “them” becomes more common. This increased populism also shapes the debate concerning women’s rights and feminism. Today we can witness how the far right connects Islam (and especially Muslim men) with the global oppression against women. According to the far right, the oppression against Western women would be solved if Western countries did not have any Muslim immigrants. This issue is discussed in the academic article, Muslim women’s new defenders: Women’s rights, nationalism and Islamophobia in contemporary Australia, from University of Technology in Sydney. In …

Female Genital Mutilation: Facts and the Way Forward!

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the cutting, or partial or total removal, of the external female genitalia for cultural, religious, or other non-medical reasons. It is usually performed on girls between the ages of four and ten. It is also called female circumcision. According to WHO, more than 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where FGM is concentrated. Furthermore, due to migration, surprising numbers of cases of FGM are coming to light in other parts of the world as well. There is a need to raise awareness of the prevalence of FGM among healthcare providers in these settings to offer appropriate care for women with FGM, and to eliminate this practice. The 6th of February is celebrated worldwide as the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. Now, when we look at the statistics, we begin to wonder if we could ever someday affirm that the practice can be or has been eradicated! According to this recent fact sheet by WHO, the global statistics …

Interview with Tanya Selvaratnam, author of “The Big Lie”

Girls’ Globe interviews Tanya Selvaratnam, author of The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism and the Reality of the Biological Clock (released in January 2014). For our review of the book, click here. 1. Has there been any backlash for sharing such personal details of your own life in the book and have you regretted sharing those experiences? I was nervous about revealing some of my mistakes and struggles. I was especially worried about my family and the Sri Lankan community because Sri Lankans don’t share this kind of stuff. But I gave the book to my mother, brother, and sister-in-law to read before I finalized the text, and their approval gave me confidence. I knew that offering the personal narrative would make the book more relatable. Now that it’s out, I have zero regrets and have been heartened by reactions. The book seems to be helping a lot of people. There have been negative comments about some of the arguments, but from people who are making assumptions about it without reading it. Some people think that no …