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US supports the United Nations International Day of the Girl Child
US Embassy
October 11, 2012

The US Public Affairs Section is supporting the United Nations first International Day of the Girl on October 11, 2012 at Glen View 1 High School with a program that incorporates theater, dance, and motivational speeches to educate youth about the status of girls and the positive results that can be obtained by investing in them. Blossoms Children Community and the New York-based 10x10 organization, with the support of the U.S. Embassy, are collaborating to recognize the importance of this day.

"The United States is proud to be celebrating this first-ever International Day of the Girl Child in Zimbabwe," said Sharon Hudson-Dean, Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy. "Whether you are a girl or a boy, a man or a woman, this day gives us all an unique opportunity to consider how we can work together to ensure that all young people - both girls and boys - have equal opportunities to contribute to their societies, and build brighter futures for themselves, their families, and their countries."

The day was established to recognize girls' rights and galvanize global commitments to end gender stereotypes, discrimination, violence and economic disparities that disproportionately affect girls. Evidence shows that countries will only reach their greatest potential economically, socially, and politically when girls participate equally in all aspects of society - in education and health care; when they are protected from discrimination and other harmful activities such as early marriage and gender-based violence.

"We are excited to celebrate this day at my alma mater, where I was the head girl, and where the theme of the event "Educate the Girl: Change the world" will be very meaningful," said Pamhidzayi Berejena Mhongera, founding member of Blossoms Children Community and Microfinance Projects Manager with MicroKing Finance (Pvt) Ltd. "The Zimbabwean girl child faces many challenges in accessing quality education, finding employment, avoiding gender-based violence and we must start to make our girls - and boys - aware at an early age about the importance of these themes."

Ms. Mhongera's vision of girl empowerment started in 1991, when as the Head Girl of Glen-View 1 High School she established the Young Ladies Club, which is still functional. This platform is for girls to express themselves on matters that affect their education and life in general and for them to get mentors and counselors who will support them for successful education and life transitions.

Presently, Ms. Mhongera is undergoing a PhD candidate in Social Work with the University of Pretoria, and recently completed a research fellowship in July 2012 with the Brookings Institution, a private nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions based in Washington DC. Her research focused on advancing the right to quality education for adolescent orphan girls through transitional services delivery at community systems level.

During her attachment with the Brookings Institution, Pamhidzayi visited 10X10 and joined forces with the organization to raise the value of girls in Zimbabwean homes, communities, and throughout the nation. On October 11, 2012, 10x10 will collaborate with individuals and partners around the globe to hold events designed to raise awareness in local communities about the importance of educating girls.

10x10 is a global action campaign that began through a collaboration of the award-winning journalists and storytellers at the Documentary Group and Paul G. Allen's Vulcan Productions. Together, they recognized the power of girls' education to alleviate global poverty - and committed their storytelling abilities to raising awareness of the issue. The organization brings together dedicated journalists, writers, business people, policy leaders, students, teachers, elected leaders, humanitarians, activists, philanthropists, musicians, celebrities and people like Ms. Mhongera - who believe that investing in girls is vital for global development

Data shows that when girls are educated, countries are more prosperous. Providing girls with an extra year of schooling beyond the average increases their wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school increases wages by 15 to 25 percent. Girls who are in school are more likely to delay marriage and childbirth, have lower rates of HIV/AIDS and other STDs, and enjoy greater equality at home and in society, and their future children are more likely to survive and be educated themselves. This Day of the Girl gives us all an opportunity to pause to discuss these important issues - and some of the ways we can work together to overcome the barriers that might keep girls and boys from achieving their greatest potential.

Between 2009-2011, the U.S. has helped 84 million girls to go to school around the world. We are working to strengthen students' reading skills, to train teachers to be more gender-sensitive in the classroom, to develop textbooks that demonstrate gender equality and to provide training that will equip them for 21st Century jobs.

Blossoms Children Community was established in Mufakose, Glen View, Kuwadzana and Highfield to support the education of girls through interagency collaboration advocacy, case management, comprehensive, counseling and mentoring programs.

The theater performance will be by Sista-Sista, a group of female artists from different arts backgrounds who come together to perform professionally to address women's and young girls' issues.

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