In December a group of Friends students went to The United Nations for a human rights conference. There were students from all over New York, France, Canada, and Mexico. The first day we arrived, we spent all day in a big conference room making presentations on a human rights issue we felt passionate about. Sahana Mehta, Altana Elings Haynie, and I made a presentation on girls’ education.
Girls education is a huge issue all over the world. Many countries don’t allow girls to be educated because they have to perform domestic chores. Others pull girls out of school after 5th or 6th grade to get married. I think it’s a really important issue because it is the source of so many other problems besides lack of education and gender equality. In many places, its the reason for early marriage, human trafficking, women not working, child mortality (because a 13 year old girls are not strong enough to give birth), female objectification, and much more.
We created a proposal for a way to help girls get educated in The Middle East. We wanted to create a program like Teach for America or Teach for India, where teachers would be sent to countries to teach in girls’ schools. The teachers would be paid by The UN, that way, parents don’t have to worry about spending all their money by sending their daughter to school. We also wanted to have this organization associated with school groups, like Amnesty International. The partner schools would raise money to donate, send supplies and textbooks, and make educational YouTube videos to be shown in the classrooms to teach the students about other cultures.
Meeting so many new people and working hard for three days straight was a lot to take in, but I think the pressure and new environment helped us thrive.