Plan International USA

Plan International USA is part of a global organization that works side by side with the men, women, and children of communities in 50 developing countries to end the cycle of poverty for children and their families. Plan works at the community level to develop customized solutions community by community to ensure long-term sustainability. Our solutions are designed up-front to be owned by communities for generations to come. We plan with the community. We plan for the community. We plan community by community. Plan strives to achieve lasting improvements in the quality of life of vulnerable children in developing countries by: 1. Meeting the basic needs of children, their families, a...
Mar 3, 2015

More than just a soccer game

Girls in action at the Because I am a Girl Cup
Girls in action at the Because I am a Girl Cup

     Sports brings people together more than perhaps anything other event.  Case in point:  Super Bowl 2014 was the most-watched television event in history, with the World Cup final not far behind.  So it was not surprising that hundreds of people gathered to watch the Because I am a Girl Cup in Nepal, a soccer tournament that brought together girls from 12 districts all over the country in a public event to compete for the tournament cup, as well as to raise awareness about the rights of girls across the nation.  Local newspapers picked up the story, and mainstream and social media around the event reached about 10 million people.   

     Early marriage and school dropout are major issues for girls in Nepal, and they are often expected to stay at home and perform household work.  The line between what girls can do and what boys can do seems impenetrable.  But there is no limit to what determined girls can accomplish.  So in the fall of 2014, 190 girls from 12 districts in Nepal walked confidently out of their houses, laced up their shoes, and showed the country that girls can do anything that boys can do.

     Fighting discrimination is complex work.  Conversations about girls’ rights can stir up deep emotions and often trigger defensive responses.  But a sports game is transcendent.  It changes people’s perceptions of who girls are and what girls can do without them ever realizing it is happening.  Suddenly, girls go from silent housekeepers to soccer stars, running and kicking and yelling across a field that was once thought to be “boys-only territory.” 

 

What did girls say about the Because I am a Girl Cup?  

“The Because I am a Girl Cup proved that women are as strong as men physically as well as mentally.”   

- Rekha, captain of the Kanchanpur team

“This is different from other tournaments - this is to stop discrimination and abuse against girls, to raise awareness among people about the importance of education for girls. ”   

- Sushmita, a player on the Kathmandu team

 

What else have you made possible for girls in Nepal?

376 centers for non-formal education have served 9,383 children (93% girls).

300 children and 300 parents were educated on preventing trafficking.

149 vulnerable children (Muslim children and children from low castes) who had dropped out of school are attending non-formal education programs to rejoin formal schools. 

The Info Booth at the Indian border cross-checked 192 children and rescued 46 children who were being trafficked into India as child laborers.   

 

 

 

 

 

Team Rautahat - Cup Champions!
Team Rautahat - Cup Champions!

Links:

Dec 11, 2014

5 Girls Who Are Wishing for Something Different This Holiday Season

Giao, from Vietnam, is dreaming big this year.
Giao, from Vietnam, is dreaming big this year.

See what five special girls around the world are wishing for this holiday season…

“All I want is an education to know how to read, to give back to my community and to be something more.”  Nourhan is a 15-year-old girl from Egypt, and she has never been to school.  She goes to work to earn money to pay for her dowry.  But the Because I am a Girl program in Egypt is launching this year in Nourhan’s hometown, providing the opportunity for girls who have never been to school to receive alternative education. 

“I want to become a French teacher so that I can make money to buy clothes and food for my family and for old people in the village.”  Florence, from Burkina Faso, is 15 years old, and almost didn’t go to school.  She was often sick as a child, and her parents were forced to choose between healthcare and an education for her.  But thanks to your support of the Because I am a Girl program, Florence received a scholarship and is now excelling in secondary school. 

“I wish I could tell girls everywhere, ‘We’re not less!  Sometimes men look down on women, but we have to stand up and be confident.  We’re worth it!’”  Johana is a teenager in El Salvador, one of the most dangerous countries in the world.  Girls and women are often casualties of the gang violence that rages across the country, and they face harassment and the threat of sexual abuse every day.  The Because I am a Girl program in Johana’s community created safe spaces for girls to gather and support one another, and to learn about preventing and reporting violence.  Johana has taken on a leadership role, and often counsels younger girls at her home who are facing difficult situations. 

“I’ve seen a lot of violence against girls, but I realized the school was trying to change that.  I want to be a part of that change.”  At age 14, Mestawet is just finishing primary school in Ethiopia.  In her hometown on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, schools do exist, but they are not friendly places for girls.  The Because I am a Girl program is working in her school and 7 others to ensure that they have clean water, safe toilets, school materials, and teachers who are trained in nonviolent classroom management.  Mestawet is a Girl Ambassador at her school, and she helps the project staff give extra support to girls who are very vulnerable.     

“I’m dreaming of a better life for my son Tuan.  I borrowed $25 to buy a piglet, and soon I will sell it for twice as much as I paid.  I’ve never in my life had that much money!”  19-year-old Giao is a member of the Because I am a Girl Village Savings and Loan program in Vietnam.  The Savings Groups give young women the chance to save and borrow money, to manage their finances, and to invest in their own businesses to plan for the future. 

 

THANK YOU for making a difference in the lives of girls around the world and giving them something to hope for this holiday season.  Happy Holidays from Plan International USA!

Links:

Sep 24, 2014

Get ready to BE BOLD on the Int'l Day of the Girl!

Mariama, age 15, Sierra Leone
Mariama, age 15, Sierra Leone

“I want to BE BOLD and speak out without shame.  Then I can help and teach others.”  Mariama, a 15-year-old girl from Sierra Leone says confidently.  In her hometown of Songo, Mariama takes a proud stand for the rights of girls with disabilities, so they will be protect from abuse and included with all children in school and the community. 

Join Mariama and millions of people around the world on October 11th, the 3rd International Day of the Girl, as we celebrate the bold actions of girls, women, boys, and men who stand up for girls’ rights every day.  The theme of this year’s celebration is “Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence.”

Because of your generous support of the Because I am a Girl program, over 30,000 girls in 8 countries have what they need to thrive: schools, water, scholarships, healthcare, financial knowledge, practical skills, and the support of hundreds of thousands of mothers, fathers, brothers, and community members. 

Here’s snapshot of what you’ve accomplished for girls around the world:

  • Burkina Faso: One new school complex and 8 new supplementary classrooms were constructed, and scholarships for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school year were awarded to 300 girls;
  • El Salvador: 1,396 girls and 139 boys were educated on violence prevention;
  • Ethiopia: 5 schools were equipped with water tanks and pipes, science equipment and library books; 400 girls received school uniforms; and 240 parents are saving money in Savings Groups;
  • India: 2,000 girls at risk of child labor were enrolled in school, and 2,000 parents of at-risk girls were connected with employment programs to support their families;
  • Indonesia: 150 adolescent girls learned to facilitate peer trainings on life skills and health;
  • Nepal: 139 alternative education centers are teaching 3,479 girls and boys to prevent trafficking;
  • Sierra Leone: 240 savings groups are teaching 3,114 girls how to save and manage money, in addition to confidence and life skills;
  • Vietnam: 566 Savings Groups are serving 9,326 members (90% women and girls).

But the change is even bigger than these numbers:  A local Plan staff member who works on the Because I am a Girl project in Sierra Leone says, “There is a change now in the way that girls are seen.  There was a time in these communities when they could treat girls badly, but now it’s different.  Girls eat with parents out of the same bowl.” 

Links:

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