October 11 is International Day of the Girl Child, a day dedicated to celebrating the voices and power of girls, championing their rights worldwide, and reflecting on the challenges they continue to face because of their gender.
Canada led the international effort to establish this day in order to draw attention to the persistent inequalities and dangers that too many girls face around the world. The United Nations subsequently adopted a resolution to formally recognize this important date.
"It's an important opportunity to highlight that there are barriers and there are inequalities that do exist," said Janet Campbell, president of the Joy Smith Foundation. "Those inequalities and barriers translate into challenges in girls and women being empowered and being able to have freedom."
Across Canada and around the world, girls are making an impact and creating positive change in their communities and far beyond. They are leading the way as students, entrepreneurs, volunteers and activists, and proving that you are never too young to shape the future and improve the lives of others.
"We work very hard to have girls and women have knowledge, tools and resources so that they can be empowered to fulfill whatever their vision is for life," said Campbell. "For somebody who has experienced trafficking, that's a monumental transition. To go from somebody who has been controlled, told what to think, how to act, what to eat and what to do. To transition into someone who is empowered and taking charge of their life, it's monumental."
Lorianne Dueck is the mobilization and advocacy program coordinator with IJM Canada. She says the hope at the end of the day is to help these women and girls feel safe.
"Imagine your safest place, whether that's with family, in your room with tea, your cabin or your cottage, that safe place and that safety you feel like nothing can touch you, everything is great. That is the feeling that we want people around the world to feel every day," said Dueck. "When they're going to school. When they're at home. When they're with family and friends. They are safe. No one will hurt them. No one will try to abuse them. If something does happen, there are people ready to take their case and will treat them with dignity and respect. That's how we want these girls to feel."
Tune into CHVN 95.1 FM throughout the day to hear how local organizations and people are fighting to make a change here in Winnipeg and around the globe.