Plan International Canada Inc.

Plan aims to achieve lasting improvements in the quality of life of children, families and communities in developing countries. We do this through a process of collaboration that unites people across cultures, adding meaning and value to their lives by: Enabling children, their families and communities to meet their basic needs and to increase their ability to participate in and benefit from their societies Building relationships to increase understanding and unity among peoples of different cultures and countries Advocating and promoting the rights and interests of the world's children, with a special focus on Girls' Rights to overcome issues of gender discrimination.
Feb 2, 2017

Bridgette Becomes President

“I wanted to show that girls can lead too,” shares Bridgette, a go-getting girl recently elected as School President. 

Fourteen-year-old Bridgette lives in Kenya, a country where 40% of the population is under the age of 14 – making room for a whole lot of growth opportunities.

And you’re helping girls grasp them.In the past, leadership at Bridgette’s school had been male-dominated, and girls didn’t feel comfortable contributing their thoughts and voices.

But now, thanks to your support of Because I am a Girl, girls are tapping into their own talent, and taking charge. 

You’re helping to create new school programs, like student governments, that enable youth to take active roles in their education, and feel safe and confident in doing so. Elected officials help bring students’ needs to the attention of administration. Beyond school walls, they’ll even represent their student body at formal community and government meetings – giving them a real chance to make change happen. 

And Bridgette set her sights on the highest seat. 

“I was inspired to vie for the position of president,” she shares, having enlisted the help of friends to campaign.
Bridgette stands in her schoolyard, wearing her school uniform and smiling at the camera

Bridgette

Bridgette stands at the front of the classroom, addressing her peers who sit in desks and smile back at her.

Bridgette conducts a session with her peers.

It was a tough race, and as one of the first girls to compete for the role, she worried she might miss out, simply because she is a girl. But gender inclusive trainings, her skills and the strength of her leadership, made it easy for peers to recognize her valuable ideas and abilities.

“Creating awareness on children’s right to school can improve lives,” she says, sharing one of her main platform beliefs.

THE BIG DAY

When election day came, students took the process very seriously. 

Crowds lined the school blocks for a chance to make their votes count, inking their fingertips to log their participation. Candidate-appointed delegates accompanied voting stations, supervising proceedings and ensuring all was fair as possible.

Once every ballot was cast and counted, it came time to announce what everyone had been waiting for – and when it came to School President, the decision was clear. 


“I was elated to be elected,” Bridgette says with excitement. “It was an achievement for all girls, not just myself.”


Girls of all ages show their inked fingerprints with pride, proving they voted!

Leaders like Bridgette are setting a positive example for their peers and paving the way for future generations, showing them anything’s possible. 

“Governments should involve girls in leadership,” expresses Bridgette. “I am inspired by prominent local female politicians.”

ALREADY SHE’S GETTING THINGS DONE!

After taking initiative to lead a meeting on the importance of safety, Bridgette motivated parents to put a fence up around the school, protecting children from surrounding wildlife and dangers. She’s also encouraged fellow students to help create a better environment.

“I am happy there are now duty rosters in place for pupils and our compound is clean,” she shares.

Bridgette’s parents are very impressed with and proud of their daughter’s accomplishment. Her father advised her to keep up the hard work, while her mother encouraged her to work even harder.

Bridgette stands outside her classroom, smiling and holding a Plan International sign that says, “I want to be a lawyer.”

Bridgette dreams of becoming a lawyer because she’s driven to fight for people’s rights – “especially women and girls,” she says with determination.

With big goals ahead, hard work is something she’ll have to keep up, but with your support and her dedication, Bridgette’s future is looking bright.

ELECTING A NEW CHAPTER OF EQUALITY

“It’s important for girls to get involved because they have a right to and are capable of becoming leaders,” says the new School President.

She’s passionate about girls “advocating for government to make changes that empower them,” because she knows, when given the chance, “girls can change the world.”

 

Girls in pink school uniforms, point to the camera and smile.

They want to thank YOU for joining the movement for global gender equality because…

A group of students smile and raise their hands in the air, in celebration.

when you rally behind a girl, everyone wins!

Links:

Nov 14, 2016

SCHOOL DORMS IN VIETNAM + SUPPORT FOR SYRIAN REFUGEES

Here are the latest ways you’re helping bring education, opportunity and better lives to some of the world’s most secluded communities and vulnerable youth.

SCHOOL DORMS OPEN DOORS IN VIETNAM

In the remote hills of Vietnam, some children walked up to 6 kilometres to get to school every day, creating a huge barrier to education.

Through your support, the community built a new school dormitory, now housing 50 students! The gender-separate dorms have modern facilities, enabling students to focus on studies, not challenges.

                Infographic listing benefits as: electric lighting  = evening reading; communal space = study buddies; fans and solid beds = better rest and attention; security features = safety and comfort; nearby water tank, kitchen and latrines = better health

“I don’t worry about my daughter walking to school at dawn, anymore,” says one father. “After the first semester her grades got better. She has time to read, is a lot more confident and hasn’t been absent from school.”

Indeed, the new accommodations are enabling students to flourish in many ways, especially with the support they gain from one another:

"In the evening, I study with my friends and my performance has been getting much better. I can understand full and clear my teacher’s lessons. Now I believe I can go on and study even harder" - Thi, dorm resident and student
                    Girls take study notes at their classroom desks.
HELPING SYRIAN REFUGEE CHILDREN STAY ON TRACK

More than 40% of the 100,000+ refugees currently registered in Egypt are children, but you’re helping keep them on an uplifting path of growth and learning.

You distributed over 8,200 education kits to the most vulnerable Syrian refugee and Egyptian children, across 40 public and community schools in Egypt!*

                               A girl smiles while playing in her classroom in Egypt. Copy reads “Thank you for bringing stability and schooling to children.

 

* Project undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada.

Links:

Aug 15, 2016

Girls in front in Kenya

A student leader speaks out to her community
A student leader speaks out to her community

Your contributions are helping to protect at-risk girls in Kenya, educating communities on gender equality and child rights, keeping girls in school, and stopping violence and abuse before it starts.

In Kenya, your support has helped:

  • Educate 1,600 students (800 girls) on their rights and the importance of gender equality
  • Support students across 32 schools to become peer educators and ambassadors for children’s rights
  • Train nearly 1,800 parents in how to support their children’s safety
  • Train teachers across 15 schools to implement effective child protection measures
  • Hold five children’s assemblies, giving girls and boys a platform to raise their voices and be heard by policy officials on issues that matter
  • Initiate school elections in 90 schools, nominating student governments that represent youths’ interest.

Until now, deeply ingrained gender discrimination often led to troubling outcomes when girls reported abuse to local authorities. Families were pressured into withdrawing their complaints, payments to victims’ families were negotiated in lieu of prosecution, and victims were even forced to marry the men who had inflicted harm on them.

It’s a heartbreaking reality that, thanks to you, is rapidly changing for the better.

By strengthening the legal and social systems that protect victims of violence, your support is helping to ensure that, when girls do report abuse, they get the help they need.

With your backing, our staff are working hard with local organizations and government bodies, such as Kenya’s national child helpline, to improve response, referral, resolution, rescue and recovery procedures for at-risk girls and children – ensuring they have proper support services available to keep them safe and healthy.

Additionally, three case management committees – including teachers, health staff, police, judiciary leaders and counselors – have been trained on effective measures to prevent, detect, report and take action against instances of sexual or physical abuse, with several more committees and positive actions to come.

Not only are you giving girls knowledge of – and improved access to – their rights, you’re ensuring they’re included in local governance, so these standards are supported and sustained.

Girls raise their voices in a peaceful procession
Girls raise their voices in a peaceful procession
 
   

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