Gemma Munday is the Senior Communications Coordinator at Restless Development. Here she highlights two stories from around the world.
I wanted to share with you two young people who have inspired me this month. From Nepal, where a young man has worked tirelessly to end harmful traditions in his village, to Zimbabwe, where girls are helping each other earn a living.
I’ll let their stories say the rest.
Ending Child Marriage
“Earlier I used to hesitate to dream small dreams, but now can dream big and I have the confidence to fulfill them.”
Bibek grew up in a rural village in Sunsari, a district in the south east of Nepal. A country where 40% of girls are married before the age of 18. In Sunsari the situation was bleak, with many children being married before the age of 10.
“When we started this program none of the organizations were working towards this. Even though it was such a huge issue of Sunsari it was still not being addressed.”
He now works in schools and with the local community delivering sessions on gender equality and ending child marriage. Working with local leaders to collect important data and statistics on the issue of child marriage in the region. Thanks to his tireless efforts his village has now been declared child marriage free.
“They (local leaders) were amazed to see the data and then committed to this campaign.”
“The biggest achievement of the program is we have been able to declare Chandbela Village of Sunsari District child marriage free.”
Empowering Girls in Zimbabwe
“It makes me happy because it’s helping other kids. When I’m older, I want to be a teacher so that I can also help others to become teachers and nurses.”
At school, Rombidzai is a member of the Girls Empowerment (GEM) club. The club was set up by young Restless Development volunteers who lead sessions on how to lead safe and healthy lives, leading to successful futures. This includes building confidence and awareness of young girls, how to start a small business initiative, and symptoms and myth-busting around HIV.
The GEM club is currently running a successful tuckshop which Rombidzai works in three days a week.
“We go to the tuck shop early in the afternoon at break time and we sell popcorn, sweets and Jiggies [corn snacks]. After we are done, we count out how much money we have made and then how much stock is left and we write this down. The money we get from selling, we give to the teacher to buy some other stuff to fill the tuckshop and the remaining money we use to buy school shoes for other kids that do not have shoes.”