Why I Stand with Girls!

I stand with girls

If we don’t raise our voices to help the most marginalized human beings on the planet –  who will?

This week, I was very excited to be part of a wonderful event celebrating International Day of the Girl with some amazing young people from Uganda and Ethiopia who are part of the Because I am a Girl Program.  Several NYC tomatoes attended too and the word of the night was “INSPIRED!” Our action call was to send 200 girls to school.

Here are photo highlights of the evening, along for a summary of my opening remarks at the event.  Help us send girls to school. And if you’re in NYC, we invite you to join the NYC Leadership Council. (Learn more below.)

Photos by Jan Goldstoff.

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Hearing from the youth ambassadors from Uganda, El Salvador and the U.S., who are part of Because I am a girl Programs was incredibly special and a wonderful testament to how this program is truly saving lives, giving girls a future, and educating boys to respect and value girls.

Here is a summary of my opening remarks for the evening, so if you did not attend, you will know how and I got involved in this program that is giving girls a future.

A few months ago, I and 4 of my colleagues who have volunteered for many years with UN organizations as well as other groups that are advancing the rights of women and girls around the world, starting hearing about the outstanding work of Plan International, an organization that has been lifting children out of poverty since 1937, and a relatively new program they started that was just focusing on girls and especially adolescent girls in developing countries.  We met with them to learn more.   

One of the first stories they told us was how the program got its name.   A few plan staff members were in a small village in Africa, and there were 3 siblings –  the 2 little boys were dressed in their school uniforms and heading off to school.  Their sister was dressed in her regular clothes and one of the women ask her why she wasn’t heading to school, and she said, I don’t go to school.  And worker asked why not?  And she said, “Because I am a Girl”. 

 That touched each of us on a very deep level, and by the time we finished our meeting and learned more about how this program is helping girls in the developing world to learn, to lead, to decide and thrive –  we knew we wanted to get involved and get other people who passionate about helping girls involved too.

 We started to meet with other women in NYC whom we know are passionate about helping girls, to tell them about Because I am a Girl, and an amazing thing happened –  nearly everyone we talked to wanted to know how they too could get involved.  So before we knew it, we had formed the NYC Leadership Council for Because I am a Girl. 

I’m often asked why – with so many problems in our own country –  I volunteer to help girls in developing countries.

 For me the answer is very simple –  if we don’t raise our voices to help the most marginalized human beings on the planet –  who will?

Here are some shocking statistics:

  • 65 million girls are NOT in school and most of them are in the developing world.
  • 41,000 girls are married off every single day –  some of them as young as 8 years old.
  • Girls are discriminated against every single day –  even in their own homes.  Boys get to go to school –  boys get to eat first if there is a little food girls often live under the threat of violence everywhere.

 Tomatoes know the value and the power of being an educated female.

 So just imagine a world where 65 million girls can get an education, find their voices, thrive, and become leaders in their communities?  That my friends, will change our world for the better!!

 That is why this program means so much to me – it is changing lives!  There is no greater legacy we can leave than investing in girls. 

 Help us Send 200 Girls to School.

We also announced that our goal is send 200 girls to school.  It cost $500 for send one girl to school.  Help give girls a chance.  A donation in any amount will make a difference.  Learn more.

About the NYC Leadership Council.

The Because I am a Girl NYC Leadership Council is a group of volunteers who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of girls. We are dedicated to building awareness and raising funds for Because I am a Girl which is giving girls a future to learn, lead, decide, and thrive. Our goal is to build an ever widening community of people who want to join the global movement for the rights of girls around the world. Council members will have a unique opportunity for briefings by experts in the global arena, the opportunity to visit countries to see Because I am a Girl programs in action, and the opportunity to be engaged with other passionate individuals who are making a difference.

If you’d like to learn more and join us, please contact cbenton@thethreetomatoes.com

 

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1 Response

  1. Joan Pagano says:

    Great event, Cheryl! It was very inspiring to hear the leadership speak and youth ambassadors speak about their mission. Thanks for generous food and wine as well!

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