On The Road Blog
A Call to Action: GFC Celebrates the International Day of the Girl
- By Sarah Ellison on October 10th, 2014
- Category: Blog, Featured, Featured Blog, Home, Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia
A girl never exists in a vacuum. Her community, family, friends, and environment all shape her life. That’s why, to support girls, The Global Fund for Children works with organizations that are rooted in the community and use innovative approaches to advance girls’ rights and well-being. Through our partnership, we help these grassroots organizations grow into thriving and sustainable community resources that can endure for generations.
Last year, GFC invested $1.3 million in 81 organizations working to address the needs of girls in 31 countries around the world.
The International Day of the Girl Child, established by the UN and celebrated each year on October 11, serves to highlight major issues and accomplishments in the field of girl’s rights. This year’s theme is “ending the cycle of violence.” Girls around the world confront many of the worst forms of violence, including genital mutilation, child marriage, and sexual abuse and exploitation. GFC supports grantee partners in every region of the world that are working to help the most marginalized girls and halt the cycle of violence.
To honor the International Day of the Girl Child and to give a sense of the innovative, frontline efforts of GFC’s diverse group of grantee partners, we are highlighting two organizations working to ensure the safety and rights of girls in their home communities: Asociación Civil Defiende in Guatemala and Arpan in India.
Asociación Civil Defiende, one of GFC’s newest grant partners, combats the sexual abuse of girls through a unique prevention program in local schools. Begun by Roberto Morales, a self-trained theater artist, the organization uses creative movement, puppetry, and theater to break the silence around the culturally taboo subject of sexual and gender-based violence in rural Mayan communities.
Through Defiende’s workshops, children learn to assert their rights, understand and respect their bodies, and stand up for the rights of others. Defiende also works with school staff to ensure that schools are safe for both girls and boys and that teachers are equipped to respond in cases of abuse and violence.
Arpan empowers children and communities with prevention and intervention skills to reduce instances of child sexual abuse for both girls and boys. Arpan is a leader in addressing child sexual abuse and was the first organization in Mumbai to offer personal safety education to children, teaching them about safe and unsafe touches and how to seek help.
Arpan also provides training to teachers, parents, and other NGOs on prevention and intervention. Founded by Pooja Taparia, who was motivated to create the organization by the magnitude of the issue and the unavailability of resources to address it, Arpan not only works to prevent abuse but also meets survivor needs. The organization provides psychosocial support, rehabilitative services, and safe spaces for children who have experienced abuse and works with schools to develop long-term plans to ensure the personal safety of students.
The International Day of the Girl Child is an opportunity to recognize what has been achieved for girls around the world. It is also a call to action to address what remains to be done. GFC’s ability to support community-based organizations like Asociación Civil Defiende and Arpan depends directly on the engagement of our own community. Help GFC reach more of the world’s most marginalized girls by making a donation today.