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Girl - GIRLtopia
| 2013-08-28 00:00:11
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    L S I R A L E A D E R S H I P Y O U R W O R L D—C H A N G E I T J O U R N E Y ! ’ S I T F O R G T O WA R D A N I D E A L W O R L D TM

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    Imagine if every girl in the world could attend school, pursue her passions, and choose the career and family life she wanted. Imagine a world in which girls could influence policies that really matter—education, health care, housing, employment. RIGHT NOW, THIS ISN’T THE CASE. Consider these statistics: Half the women in the world above age 15 cannot read or write. 1 Violence causes more death and disability worldwide among women aged 15–44 than war, cancer, malaria, or traffic accidents. 3 1 Women’s Learning Partnership/womankind.org.uk 2 Because I Am a Girl: The State of the World’s Girls 2007 (Plan International) 3 Directorate of Public Health, UK, via womankind.org.uk

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    GIRLtopia is your invitation to envision a perfect world—a utopia—for girls. On this journey, you will create an ideal community where girls’ values, needs, and interests are respected and celebrated—always. And along the way, you just might discover that when you can envision a change, you can make it happen.

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    As you decide how to move the world a little (or a lot) closer to GIRLtopia, keep in mind that your actions will likely fall into one of two basic categories: direct and immediate action or longerlasting efforts. Direct and immediate service changes something right now. Here are some examples: • Organizing a book drive to help nonnative speakers of English improve their reading skills • Setting up a career fair for women in your area • Holding a “Take Back the Night” march Longer-lasting action gets at the root of issues. Here are some examples: • Organizing an ongoing after-school reading assistance project • Teaching older women computer skills so they can better compete in the job market • Working with the town to create monthly “Teen Nights,” so everyone can have fun in a safe, inclusive, and respectful environment

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    SERVICE VS. ACTION: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? Being of service to others means being helpful—doing the right and kind thing. Serving is often the immediate, and much needed, response to tragedy. But service is also an everyday kindness. We are of service when we feed the hungry, offer clothing to the homeless, or simply help a friend with a tough homework assignment. In serving, we are most mindful of basic human needs: food, clothing, shelter, care. Being of service is a vital way to help and care. When we move beyond immediate and necessary service to understand the root causes of a problem, we move toward action. When we team up and mobilize others in our efforts to find ways to solve that problem, we are taking action. Action can happen in many ways— from partnering with your town or school to organize more sports events for girls to getting the local toy store to stop following stereotypes when selecting its inventory of merchandise for girls to holding “Take Back the Night” events so teens have a safe and fun place to hang out together once a month. Service makes the world better for some people “right now.” Action strives to make the world better for more people for a much longer time. Sometimes, service and action just naturally blend together into one sustainable effort. As a Girl Scout, you use both service and action to live out the Girl Scout Law and “make the world a better place.”

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    Ideas for Taking Action It’s your turn! Go ahead, take action! Here are some ideas. After seeing a documentary about how thousands of elephants are killed each year by poachers who want their ivory tusks, you might feel the desire to get out and do something about it. But you can’t just hop on a plane to Africa. So what can you do? You could educate others about the poaching, and perhaps even drum up support for a local boycott of ivory jewelry and other ivory goods. Or you could use the issue as a springboard to other animal-related causes. Perhaps you could take action to improve the treatment of animals in a local zoo or shelter or protect a local endangered animal. The same applies to improving the world for girls. In 2005, an estimated 58 million girls around the world were still not in school, and of those who were, one in four weren’t expected to complete fifth grade. Experts say that educating girls is one of the most beneficial commitments a country can make, because it not only prepares girls for higher education, it helps pull families out of poverty, hunger, and ill health. Here’s what one American woman did while on a trip to Africa: While on vacation in Rwanda, Cheryl Baldwin, an executive director at Long Island University in Brookville, New York, saw how poverty and despair were affecting girls in a country still reeling from civil war. So she came up with a vision—Camp Hope, a leadership development program for Rwandan girls. In the summer of 2007, through Baldwin’s efforts and funding from an anonymous donor, 20 Rwandan girls met with Rwandan senators and other women leaders to discuss girls’ concerns. In 2008, the camp plans to serve 60 girls. One girl reported that Camp Hope gave her “the opportunity to hope again.” “I was very desperate,” she said. “I couldn’t see anything good for me in the future. . . . I now know that I am precious and valued in the Rwandan society.” What can you do to help girls worldwide get an education? Start in your community! Remember: Raising local literacy levels raises world literacy, too.

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