(LONDON, UK) - MAJOR global events of the past year are set to have the greatest impact on the lives of young people, says the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, as it marks its biggest global celebration, World Thinking Day.
World Thinking Day, which takes place on 22 February, provides an opportunity to celebrate the Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting Movement, which spans 146 countries, with the belief that every girl deserves the opportunity to have a voice and be the best they can be.
However, with girls and women’s rights firmly in the spotlight, young people are expressing anxiety about the divided world they are growing up in and concern that their voices are not being reflected by those in power.
In a bid to ensure young women’s voices are heard, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has launched a letter-writing campaign, encouraging its 10 million members to share their hope and ambitions for a better world with girls across the globe so that together they can form a stronger collective voice about issues that affect them, such as gender equality and discrimination.
Laiba, a Girl Guide from Pakistan says:
“Girls grow up being told they are constantly inferior to their male counterparts. Some are told that their purpose of life is much smaller than they’d like it to be. But Pakistan girls do not just reach for the stars, they work towards achieving their aims and breaking barriers with each step.”
The humanitarian impact of sustained conflict, the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War and lack of access to basic human rights including healthcare, education and a life free from violence impact disproportionately on girls and young women. Statistics show a significant gap between the views of young people and the decisions being taken that will impact their future.
According to Nicola Grinstead, Chair of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts;
“In all of the turmoil and division across the world, it is young people who are likely to suffer most. Millions are missing out on an education and more than half of the world’s refugee population fleeing from conflict are made up of boys and girls under-18. Future employment and economic prosperity prospects are limited and the threat of climate change looms large.
“Those leaders who have been elected to represent the voices of everyone – young as well as old – have arguably never been more out of step with the views, hope and aspirations of the younger generation. As the world’s largest Movement for girls with 10 million members across the world, we are in a unique position to provide a safe space for young people to develop the skills, confidence and global voice they need to create the world they want to live in.”
Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from across the world are demonstrating through their actions that they want to see a more tolerant, inclusive society that accepts and welcomes people from all different walks of life.
According to one letter written by a 12-year-old Guide from Greece:
“In the last few months, a large number of people have come to my country during their journey to a better place because they want to build a new life away from the war. My group has sent them clothes, blankets, toys and medicine. As a Guide, I’ve learnt that people are the same, no matter how they look or what language they speak.”
With the belief that every girl should have the chance to grow, learn and reach her potential, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts is keen to ensure more girls - and boys - have the opportunity to have a voice and be part of the global Movement.
For more information, visit: www.worldthinkingday.org
For more letters from Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from across the world, or to set up an interview with Nicola Grinstead, please contact:
Angela Singh, Communications Manager, Media
World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
Phone: +44 (0)20 7433 6460 Email:
NOTES TO EDITORS
About World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts is the largest voluntary Movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world. Our diverse Movement represents ten million girls and young women from 146 countries.
For more than 100 years Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting has transformed the lives of girls and young women worldwide, supporting and empowering them to achieve their fullest potential and become responsible citizens of the world.
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) committed to fight against gender-based violence by starting our campaign Stop the Violence: Speak out for Girls’ Rights in 2011. The initiative is unique in that it addresses the root causes of violence against girls and sets the groundwork for real social change. For more information, please visit www.wagggs.org
About World Thinking Day
World Thinking Day is celebrated by Girl Guides and Girl Scouts across the world on 22 February each year. It is a day of international friendship and solidarity, celebrated since 1926. This year’s theme is Grow. We believe that every girl should have the chance to grow, learn and reach her potential. We believe that more girls should be able to be part of the Girl Guide and Girl Scout Movement. It’s an opportunity to develop skills and introduce more young people to the World Association Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting and fundraise to keep the Movement thriving. To find out more or donate, visit: www.worldthinkingday.org