Eight Girl Guides from four countries are taking a stand against violence by speaking out at an international conference in Canada.
The Guides will be having their say at the World Health Organisation's 8th Milestones of a Global Campaign for Violence Prevention Meeting in Ottawa.
At the meeting, they will be participating in conference sessions and consultations along with other young people where they will get the chance to share their opinion.
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has been a global leader in taking action on violence against girls and young women and in 2011 launched a successful Stop the Violence campaign aimed at empowering Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to speak out against violence in their countries.
Find out more about the Stop the Violence campaign at www.stoptheviolencecampaign.com
Meet some of the WAGGGS Delegates at the 8th Milestones of a Global Campaign for Violence Prevention Meeting:
Andile, South Africa
Andile studies maths and science subjects in Grade 10. She dreams of becoming a paediatrician when she is older, and wants children to be able to grow up and be the bright future they are destined to be. Andile has been a Girl Guide since 2011, and says she has learnt many things in Guiding, including self-acceptance and to overcome every challenge with a smile on her face.
Andile says: "I joined Girl Guiding because I love how it empowers young girls to become future successful individuals. It gives us more confidence and role models, especially in South Africa where we need more strong women to be strong leaders."
She has taken part in a Stop the Violence march, where she delivered a memorandum of concerns to her town's mayor, to raise awareness of the campaigns to stop violence against women and children.
Andile says: "It's all in our hands to change our current situation, to curb the 80 cases of abuse that are reported every month in my country. I say NO to bullying as a victim of it, and as I stand tall to be the voice of all the bullied kids around the world.
"I’m very thankful for the opportunity, as it was one of my dreams to go overseas. I want to fly my South African flag as high as I can. I'm looking forward to being in Girl Guiding forever, spreading the word out of how amazing it is. I'm looking forward to learning more on my trip to Canada and being able to be the voice of all the kids in the world and represent Guiding as I'm one in 10 million."
Lethabo, South Africa
Lethabo is a Grade 10 student in Pretoria, and a Ranger with Middleburg 1st Girl Guides. She has taken part in a vast array of community projects, including collecting donations of clothes and supplies and raising funds for good causes, as well as volunteering. Lethabo has taken action to support women who have been in violent relationships, she has also researched how best to advocate for an end to violence against women and girls in her community.
Lethabo says: "Guiding taught me about cultural diversity, leadership, different religions and the responsibilities and complications associated with teenage pregnancy.
"Children are the most vulnerable people on earth. They cannot speak for themselves and they cannot challenge every decision made that impacts them. It always pains me when I watch the news and see how children are violated around the world. They need someone to stand up for them and that someone is me. I have the passion and the courage to stand for their rights and make the world listen."
Megan is currently a grade 11 student in Ottawa, Canada. Her interest in social justice began in elementary school through her participation in Me to We clubs. This sparked a passion for helping others and gave her the belief that everyone’s rights to a safe and happy childhood need to be respected.
Megan is a member of Girl Guides of Canada. She has been a part of the guiding community for as long as she can remember, and is thankful for all it has taught and given her, both in her community and on a global scale. Through guiding she has developed self-awareness and confidence while participating in programming revolving around subjects ranging from mental health and self-esteem to women in STEM and the empowerment of girls. She also loves to travel and recent opportunities with the Ranger program included a visit to Pax Lodge World Center in London, to Vimy Ridge, and to different parts of the Yukon. She plans to stay involved with guiding for as long as she can and eventually hopes to contribute as a leader.
Through guiding she has been given many opportunities and she has developed a great sense of global awareness, often being given the chance to learn more about global issues and to find ways in which to drive change and help overcome them. She recently participated as a spokesperson in GGC’s International Day of the Girl campaign, which shed light on the problems that girls in Canada face every day.
Mia is a Grade 9 student in Ottawa, Canada. She is French/English bilingual and is studying in an intensive science program, with the goal of an eventual career in health care. Her most recent science project aimed to improve the function of prosthetic hands with tactile digital technology.
Mia is a Pathfinder with Girl Guides of Canada, and recently travelled with her group to Pax Lodge, as well as to the battlefields of World War I, to better understand the effect violence has on those living through times of war, and the impact on generations to come.
In Guiding, Mia has participated in a wide variety of youth-led activities, including exploring the legal system, politics, engineering and mental health. Her interest in international development and assistance started when she was 6-years-old when she undertook fundraising activities to help many of her classmates’ families impacted by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Mia has continued to support girls’ and women's rights through Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl initiative. Mia has also volunteered regularly with elderly and disabled residents at a long-term care home for the past four years.