Today, 11 October, marks the International Day of the Girl Child. It’s an important day each year to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
The theme for International Day of the Girl Child is: The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030 in recognition of the importance of investing in adolescent girls’ empowerment and rights, both today and in the future.
To achieve the Vision for 2030 for all adolescent girls, development efforts must be inclusive of adolescent girls with disability. Therefore, it’s essential for development organisations to apply a disability-inclusive approach.
CBM Australia partners with many organisations to help develop and strengthen their capacity to support people with disability in their own development programs. One such organisation is Plan International Australia . Our work with Plan includes joint learning and advocacy to promote gender equality and disability inclusive practice, which is why we’re excited to be sharing one of their case studies today.
The case study is about Neouy, 21, from a rural village in Cambodia. When she was just 3-years-old she contracted an illness that left her with a disability.
Neouy tried to attend school, but the long walk made it too difficult and she faced negative attitudes from the other children.
Fortunately, Neouy was put in touch with a non-governmental organisation (NGO), and through Plan International and Krousar Yoeung’s project – Vocational Training for Disadvantaged Young People – she has completed vocational training in make-up skills.
“Today, life is changed. I have lived and learnt in the [vocational] centre for four months to complete my make-up skills. The teachers and classmates here are kind to me and I have good friends here. The teachers encourage me and my friends do not mind about my disability,” says Neouy.
Neouy has since returned home, and with the skills she learnt at the vocational centre, she now earns an income and is empowered to plan for her future.
“Now, I am thinking about my future shop. If the opportunity provides for me again, I will go for additional skills…I am changed now,” says Neouy.
This is just one example of how inclusive programs benefit all adolescent girls of all abilities, both today and in the future. Investing in adolescent girls’ empowerment and rights is central to achieving gender equality for all, including women and girls with disability.
With the very recent adoption of the Global Goals, the day falls at a time of renewed global commitment to addressing inequalities and gender equality is central to achieving them.