Yesterday, Africare celebrated the first-ever International Day of the Girl Child at its headquarters from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to expand public awareness in our neighborhood about the need for greater gender equality and the importance of girls’ education. Africare, Children’s Defense Fund and the Metropolitan Police Department, explored the link between poverty and gender issues for women in the U.S., Africa and elsewhere around the world.
Africare’s Chief Operating Officer, Diane White, discussed the importance of the International Day of the Girl; Dianne Forte, Director of International Programs, explored the harsh realities of child brides in Niger; Program Manager, Mona Davies, discussed the success of Africare’s Initiative for the Economic Empowerment of Women Entrepreneurs Project (IEEWEP) in Chad; and Shiro Gnanaselvam, Africare’s Senior Advisor, announced Africare’s newest partnership with Educate Girls Globally to promote education reform in Africa.
“Education is a pathway out of poverty, and it is as important for the girl in Shaw as it is for the girl in Chad,” mentioned Diane White.
In addition to viewing exclusive footage from 10×10’s “Girl Rising” film, attendees shared real-life successes and failures around women’s empowerment, and discussed how to bring about positive change in the lives of local girls.
“When we help the girls, we have to get the mothers involved,” said Tommy Barnes, D.C. Master Patrol Officer. “We have to create programs that will attract the girls to keep them off the streets.”
“International Day of the Girl calls each of us, given our resources and networks, to ask what is our role?” proposed Diane White.
Africare renewed its commitment to being involved in the Shaw community and several Africare staff members discussed upcoming community outreach events. On Friday, October 19th, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Africare will host its first annual Pumpkin Patch event on the Africare House campus. Children from the neighborhood and surrounding area, as well as their parents, teachers, caregivers and passersby, are invited to celebrate fall by coming in costume and enjoying face painting, cider, pumpkins and other treats. The event is free to all.