It is tragic that girls are one of the most marginalised groups in Pakistani society. Did you know that 12.4 million girls are out of school and approximately 21% of the girls in Pakistan are married before the age of 18? In fact, in the 144 South Asian Global Gender Gap Index, Pakistan ranks as 143. Within the 120 Education Development Index it ranks 113 and it also ranks last in women’s participation in SAARC countries.
That's why Save the Children in Pakistan is committed to ensuring that the rights of the children in Pakistan are fulfilled, especially girls. They must be given the opportunity to Survive, Learn, and be protected.
For International Day of the Girl on the 11th October, Save the Children in Pakistan commemorated the event in all major cities across the country. The planned activities aimed to raise awareness of the issues faced by girls in Pakistan, as well as to showcase our aim to reach #EveryLastChild. As a result, we relaunched our Facebook page and created a global Facebook photo frame to engage our audience and increase their engagement for our cause.
In Karachi, the day was celebrated with the minority group of Hindu children from the slums. The event took place in a Child rights club that was established inside a Hindu temple to support children into mainstream education. For young girls who would beg on the busy streets of Karachi, having a school inside the temple meant a lot- it made this learning environment more accessible and helped them to feel safe. The event also included a walk for child education as well as the press conference on the significance of the day and the rights of girls.
Similarly, in Lahore, the day was celebrated by street children who had suffered from child labour and were now receiving a basic education. An interactive dialogue between government officials and girls was also organised to discuss the request to raise the age of marriage for girls from 16 to 18 years. After hearing from these girls and their thoughts on child marriage, a Parliamentarian submitted a resolution to the Punjab Assembly to increase the age of marriage for girls from 16 to 18 years by amending “The Punjab Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act 2015.
In Islamabad, an orientation session was set up with children and was then followed by a walk for girls’ education. Children also had the chance to discuss and propose actions to tackle issues that girls would face- such as child marriage and improving their access to education. In addition, young girls met the Governor of Punjab so that their voice and their rights could be given a platform.
The day's activities raised a lot of awareness for girls’ rights across the country.
Save the Children in Pakistan is committed to reaching the most vulnerable children in Pakistan and will continue to work persistently to be their voice and protect their rights.