“Now when I speak, people listen to what I have to say”

Girl Leaders Rise Up Today and Every Day

International Day of the Girl Child 2019

Today and every day, Rise Up celebrates the power and strength of girl leaders who are creating change around the world. From girl leaders who are bringing an end to child marriage in Malawi, to young women who are fighting for access to economic opportunity in India, Rise Up girl leaders are transforming their lives, families, and communities - and our world!

Since 2018, Rise Up has invested in Masai girl leaders in Kenya to raise their voices and advocate for their rights. In partnership with the Center for the Study of Adolescence, we have enabled Kenyan girls to strengthen their leadership, advocacy, and impact through our global Girls' Voices Initiative.

These girl leaders are now standing in their own power to create change, speak out, and mobilize their communities -- including launching their own campaign to bring an end to female genital mutilation in Kenya.

Read on to hear from these powerful Rise Up girl leaders -- in their own voices -- about their inspiration to create change, their hopes for their own lives, and their vision for the future. Happy #IDG2019!

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“Now when I speak, people listen to what I have to say.” –  Abigael, 14
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“…[W]e are losing a lot of girls in the community through female genital mutilation (FGM) as some of them die, others drop out of school and get married and do not get to live a fulfilled life. I applied to the Girls’ Voices Initiative program because I wanted to help girls in the community fight against FGM… I attended the training and learned how to confidently speak up, as well as talk to leaders within the community.”  – Martha, 14
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“I was inspired to work on issues affecting girls in my community because girls are special people and they have a bright future. They are undergoing a lot of challenges and do not have a voice as they cannot even talk to their parents freely.”  – Neema, 13
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“I attended the training and learned about my role as an educated girl to ensure that all girls within my community can speak up and fight for their rights if we would like to see any change. I also became more confident and learned that if we speak up together as one we are powerful and can make a change.” – Keziah, 14
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“I was inspired to work on issues affecting girls in my community because I thought I was capable of ensuring change happens within my community and I wanted to see girls achieving their goals…I can now confidently speak out without fear, I can express myself and I know my rights as a girl.” -Zainabu, 14
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“I applied to the Girls’ Voices Initiative program because it gave us light and hope that our voices will be heard.” Joyce, 11