I sat in the waiting area at Kathmandu International Airport, Nepal. There was still an hour till my flight and I preferred to be out here.
I had been to this airport 4 times. I knew that if I had to go past the security point, I’d be right into the crowded gates. It was more spacious out here. There were sofas instead of hard plastic seats and I knew that anytime I decided to get up and go to security, I wouldn’t be delayed by the queues.
Why? Because the queues are split between male and female here, and sadly if there are a hundred men waiting up in line, there will only be ten women.
What do these queues tell us about gender equality? Why is the ratio so unbalanced? What can we do so that today’s girl child will not have it easy on the queues but have that ticket in hand?
This is not just about Nepal, this is not just about Asia. This is about the whole world. One, single girl is a whole world – a world that can anchor her down to imposed duties or a world that gives her opportunities for her future.
Education leads to opportunities. It opens up little windows in the mind that can take you somewhere, a baby step at a time. Yet, many girls in rural and remote sides of this planet have no option to go to school. And when they do, it’s only until they are old enough to start lending a hand in the house to take care of the family, which leaves them with no time to go to school and end up dropping out.
NGOs like Right2Smile focus on working hand in hand with local organizations in Kenya, India and Cambodia to promote education, health and sustainability for boys and girls alike so in the future they can have the tools in hand to lead the future they dream of.
Garden of Smiles, a project which branched out in Right2Smile’s India project and has now expanded to Kenya too, gives women in these rural areas a chance to grow their skills and earn money from their final products, for them and their families.
This is just an example of small projects that I know, have seen and been to first hand and know their trustworthiness. If you prefer collaborating with NGOs around you, do your research. Find out what they stand for, who they support, make sure that they’re trustworthy and check out how you can contribute. You could simply buy a bag to support their fair trade. You could send money to an official bank account. You can decide to take the plunge and spend a few weeks in these countries, to be with these girls and these women and help create bonds between peoples.
Whatever you do, just don’t sit back and do nothing about it. No matter how small you think a gesture could be, it could mean the world to a little girl.
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