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Girl Up empowers the next generation of female leaders

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Girl Up empowers the next generation of female leaders

Ishan Anand, Contributing Writer

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To battle the oppression many girls face in the world today, the United Nations Foundation leads a campaign called “Girl Up,” which is dedicated to ensuring the health and safety of the world’s hardest to reach adolescent girls, as well as pushing for their equal rights to education and preparing them to be the next generation of global leaders.

Junior Ishika Awachat has founded Fremd’s very own Girl Up club, where members and volunteers can reach out to girls in developing countries including Guatemala, Uganda, Ethiopia, Malawi and India.

“[Girl Up] offers people great opportunities to come together and learn about world issues, arguably one of the most important issues facing our generation today, because girls have the power to change the world, but they are at a very distinct disadvantage,” Awachat said. “This club is an outlet for people to discuss the issue, and also do something about it.”

Awachat encourages people to join the campaign as providing girls with leadership skills and including them in the decision-making process is one of the major tools to spark economic and social change.

“We need boys to not only be allies, but co-conspirators in our fight to end gender inequality.” Awachat said, “In order for us to advance, those with privilege must take initiative to better this world for all. Today, 130 million girls around the world are not in school and on average, a woman earns 80.5 dollars for every dollar a man earns. We all have to work together for the greater good.”

Group discussion and coming together to open dialogue are primary goals of Girl Up.

“[It’s] unique in its own way, because it is a non-competitive club,” Awachat said. “We work together and everybody is a winner. We also get to enjoy ourselves in the process.”

Although this has only been the first year of the club, club members have conducted multiple awareness events, provided community service at a local women’s shelter, raised a combined $1,184 from a bake sale and a craft fair, and received $130 in donation: all of which supports 20 refugee girls in Uganda and provides girls in Guatemala safe mobility to education in the form of bikes. Recently, club members have even taken advocacy actions by signing the Girls Count Petition to help refugee girls receive education and sending letters to policymakers.

In the next three months, the club plans to carry out a movie screening, a student panel discussion/debate on various topics, and other fun events, all of which are applicable for volunteer hours.

Girl Up is an active, open club that always accepts new members. The club meets on Wednesdays in room 168 from 3 to 4 p.m. But if you can’t find the time to fit these in your schedule, you can still further the cause.

“You don’t have to be an active member of the group to help out,” Awachat said. “[Students], if they’re interested, can follow us on social media to see what sorts of volunteering events we’re doing.”

Girl Up’s Schoology Group (D2S2R-9NS23), along with the Twitter (@fremdgirlup) and Instagram account (fremdgirlup), are frequently updated with fundraising and volunteering events. More information about Girl Up can be found on their website, www.girlup.org.

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Girl Up empowers the next generation of female leaders