What is the girl effect?
The effect of empowering an adolescent girl (12-13 years old) in the developing world to go to school, learn and develop instead of having sex, having babies and perpetuating the cycle of poverty… Each educated girl has a ripple effect on the community by inspiring other girls and boys and women and men around her.
As Gandhi said, “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”
So my insignifiant little something is this. In a couple of hours, I am going to teach a yoga class to a group of twenty teenage girls here in Guatemala City. They range from ages 12 to 18, and a few of them are already mothers. One, who is 13, is six months pregnant. Each of the girls has been rescued from human trafficking. I can’t conceive of the atrocities they have lived through.
This will be our second yoga session; I am planning to go twice a month. Our first class, two weeks ago, was a joyous occasion, full of laughter and lightheartedness. They seemed to really get into the breathing. Some of them were a bit rowdy, especially during balancing poses, but in savasana, they were all still and silent. After class, many of them thanked me profusely and said how relaxed they feel. They asked me to come back.
I’m privileged with the ability to at least attempt to inspire my students, who are way at the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum from my yoga students. I focus a lot on social justice and service learning in my class. I first showed this captivating video to my students two years ago. Yesterday, I shared the Girl Effect with my current eighth graders. Here are some of their responses:
- We girls are important we are the ones who have children, without us there wouldn’t be humans. Girls are important, we have the same rights as any man has.
- I got inspired and heart touched by the girl in Ethiopia. She was 13 years old and was about to get married! She wanted to go to school, wanted to be a doctor in her future but as her mother said, she will never grow up to be that girl. One should always appreciate what one has, take opportunities and think about how your actions could change your future. Stand out for what really matters and take care of yourself, take care of “the Girl Effect”.
- Girls have great potential, they simply need to discover it. The Girl Effect organization educates girls in poverty, to then expand their knowledge to their friends or relatives.
- The Girl Effect motivates me to make a change. I could start helping children in Guatemala with simple things. I could go to a school for kids that don’t have an education and motivate them to help the world! These kids would spread the word to their friends and family, then everyone would help!
- Girls have been immensely underestimated during the ages. They have been seen as less than men and that is having bad consequences today. Since girls in poor areas are seen as less important the education is prioritized on boys. The girl effect is helping change this. Instead of only educated men in a town, there are also educated woman and everyone knows that two is better than one.
- I believe the responsibility of the world is to stop corruption. I believe that if everyone gives a little bit of their fortune, people like Sanchita can grow even more and help other people.
- If we never try to change the world, then we will never improve on our way of life. Not only girls, but the whole world needs to try and start to make a change for themselves, and for the future of our society. The Girl Effect can help us change humanity.