gender equity

Huffington Post: Changing the World with the Power of Girls’ Voices

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Originally published on Huffington Post by Pam Allyn, LitWorld's Executive Director and Founder.

“Once a girl has knowledge, she will be able to fight for her own rights and prove others wrong. Then she will succeed in life and even empower others girls.” These powerful words were written in the Community Action Plan proposal to apply for the Global HerStory Summit, from our HerStory Ambassadors from Kenya.

I immediately knew that these courageous, inspiring girls had to be a part of our event! Their strong words and strong spirits resonate with the core of our work. I founded my organization, LitWorld, to provide every child with a base of literacy and the knowledge and perspective to author their own future of independence that is not predetermined by geography or gender or poverty or a zip code.

Now the Summit is here, and next week, the HerStory Campaign, powered by LitWorld and Global G.L.O.W., will host our 2nd annual Global HerStory Summit. Teams of women and girls from communities around the world where we work will gather in New York City as HerStory Ambassadors. Together, we will spend the week developing their Community Action Plans into a concrete strategy to be able to implement positive and impactful change driven by women and girls in their home communities.

The Summit will be a joyful one, full of storytelling and arts workshops, opportunities to build new friendships and deepen the global HerStory network and connect with other changemakers, as well as visits to iconic sites in New York City. The Summit is also held in conjunction with UN Women during their annual Commission on the Status of Women, to allow the authentic and diverse perspectives of women and girls to inform plans aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

One of the student leaders in Kenya, Winnie, is the oldest child in her family and has been caring for her siblings after her mother passed away five years ago. Despite the challenges she has faced, being part of the HerStory Campaign for the past two years has given Winnie the strength to forge ahead with courage and hope for the future. Winnie and her group’s Community Action Plan will provide sex education for girls in her community in a campaign called “I Read, I Lead.” In Winnie’s community, access to information about women’s health and sexual health is limited. She understands that education is powerful and allows girls to make strong choices for themselves.

Winnie is our future. She is seeking knowledge, empowering herself and working to make her community in Kenya a better place for herself and others. Her story is just starting, but it is one of strength, curiosity and confidence. Through our work, we are proud to amplify her voice, her spirit and her determination.

I hope that you will come hear her story. You are invited to join our HerStory Ambassadors from several countries as they share their stories and ideas for change in song, poem and video at a our UN Women CSW Parallel Event. I will be there, along with other leaders of the HerStory Campaign, to discuss progress of the Campaign around the world, the most pressing issues facing girls, and how to get involved in this crucial movement to help girls in the most challenging communities become agents of change. Please join us in the crucial movement of gender equity, community change and the power of stories to change the world.

Top 5 Reasons for the Right to Read

We believe literacy is a human right that belongs to all people. 122 million children across the globe cannot read. LitWorld is changing this. 

Here are our Top 5 Reasons to support the right to read and in this way impact millions of people in the world who are hungry for it. The right to read is an information-empowering, communication-delivering, people-connecting, comfort-inducing, opportunity-ensuring tool for sustainable change.

Top 5 Reasons for the Right to Read

  1. Because zip codes shouldn’t stop kids from having the same chance to become super readers. LitWorld works across communities in the United States and around the world in 25 countries to bring afterschool and summer solutions to closing the reading gap.
     
  2. Because helping kids read is a powerful, sustainable investment that gives young people the power to change their own lives. Did you know that without literacy skills individuals are less likely to participate in democratic processes and have fewer chances to fully exercise their civil rights? Through year-round participation in LitWorld LitClubs, kids gain the skills they need to be school, career and civic ready. 
     
  3. Because kids who read are happier. Through our dynamic LitCamp program (reaching 60,000 kids and counting!) kids get a whole new kind of summer school, one that teaches them to read and also brings them joy. When kids don't get to read what they care about during the summer, they very often fall up to two grade levels behind! LitWorld is solving for this.
     
  4. Because when girls get to readthey are far more likely to get to go to college and be economically independent. So, LitWorld focuses 2/3 of our programming on women and girls. The HerStory Campaign helps us achieve this goal.
     
  5. Because a kid who reads is going to grow up to be a citizen who cares about his or her community. LitClub members report more active engagement and leadership in their communities after just one year in a LitClub. We seek to expand our programs not only for the benefit of one child’s right to read, but also for what that ripple effect does for everyone else.

We invite you to honor someone who has inspired YOUR reading life. Could it be your first grade teacher, your mom, your grandfather, or a best friend? You can give kids who are most hungry for the right to read the chance to fulfill their biggest potential.

Make a donation of any amount in honor of the person in your life who inspired you to read, write and follow your dreams.