Empowering Girls to Speak up for One Another


Empowering Girls to Speak up for One Another

“If we do not stand up for our sisters, who will? If their suffering is nothing to us, we are little different from the perpetrators. We must be a voice for the voiceless. We must work together,” Mekdes, 15, passionately says.

The Girls Club, of which Mekdes is the Deputy Head, works to end the shame and discrimination attached to anything about being female, including outdated practices ranging from catcalling to child marriage in their community. They recalled one significant achievement in 2023. They helped to stop a proposed child marriage involving Konjit, a 15-year-old grade 8 student. Against her will, her family was ready to give her away to a much older man. She says, “When I asked about the preparation, they said it was for a religious ceremony. Little did I know that it was for my wedding.”

“When I told my parents that I am still a child and I want to continue my education, they tried to fob me off by promising that I would be able to continue my education even after marriage. They wanted to escape poverty by marrying me into a rich family. It was purely an economic decision. My feelings, my future, my dreams, my education, and my health mattered little to them,” Konjit says. Being followed and unable to go to the police on her own, she decided to confide in her friends to tip off the Girls Club.

Mekdes was shocked when she first received the tip off. She immediately let her teachers know, who alerted the police. Swift action was soon taken, the marriage was stopped, and Konjit was rescued. Mekdes says, “This was my proudest achievement. This is exactly the meaning of sisterhood. I am my sister’s keeper.”

Konjit’s parents have since agreed to let her continue her studies. Both she and Mekdes would like to become doctors. Thanks to the Girls Club, they are both empowered to continue to pursue their dreams.

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