International Day of the Girl

img_0474The International Day of the Girl is a movement started by the United Nations, and since 2011 it has been celebrated annually on October 11th. In a resolution that was adopted by the United Nations, the primary goal of the International Day of the Girl is to promote the investment in bettering girls’ lives as a way to end gender-based violence and allow for each girl, worldwide, to reach her full potential.

As a dynamic conclusion to Peace Week at Butler University, The Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation, and Global Justice partnered with CARE, an international aid organization dedicated to ending world poverty, to celebrate International Day of the Girl by hosting a panel discussion entitled: How Hoosiers are Working Globally to Empower Women and Girls. Congresswoman Susan Brooks, who represents Indiana’s 5th District, delivered the keynote speech in the Johnson Room of Robertson Hall on Butler University’s campus on Monday, October 10. With the theme of Peace Week focusing on the empowerment of women and girls, Representative Brooks recounted powerful anecdotes of women in her district who have done incredible good in the world. One example she used was of a young Hoosier who came back from studying abroad and raised enough money for a child she met while out of the country to have a life-saving surgery. Congresswoman Brooks ended her compelling message asking everyone how different our world would be if all women had the same access to education and employment opportunities as men. If one female college student had the ability to save someone’s life elsewhere on the globe, Congresswoman Brooks mused, what else could empowered women achieve?

img_0475Following Congresswoman Brooks’ powerful opening remarks, Waseema Ali, the Managing Director of the Desmond Tutu Center introduced the panel which she would moderate. The first panelist, David Ray, CARE’s Vice-President for Advocacy, has been influential in standing for the rights of women for the past twenty-five years and was one of the creators of the ONE Campaign, an international campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Cynthia Prime, the founder and Executive Director of Saving Orphans through Healthcare and Outreach (SOHO) was the second panelist and drew on her own experience from working with women and girls in Swaziland and South Africa.  Finally, Becky Lomax-Sumner from Timmy Global Health was the third panelist, and she has served on medical brigades with Timmy since 2002 in Guatemala, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. These three experts discussed topics ranging from the need to expand healthcare for women and girls to ways to engage the local Indianapolis community to empower women and girls. Though the need to empower women and girls is worldwide, Congresswoman Brooks and the panelists made it clear  there are many Hoosiers who are making an impact.     

By: Caroline Wang

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