Friday was the international Day of the Girl and I missed it. I was busy enjoying the spoils of a comfortable American Life. My daughter went roller skating. We went to a movie. We ate French fries.
We weren’t the only ones who missed it. Girls all over the world were busy collecting and carrying water to their families. They missed it too.
The Day of the Girl and the efforts of Malala Yousufsai focus on education for girls. There are many reasons girls don’t get to go school and they usually focus on poverty and prejudice. But, in many places it might be simpler. Girls don’t go to school because they are hauling water. Girls must spend hours every day collecting and carrying water for basic daily needs.
Think of the time lost. The girls could be in school! Access to education is often the portal to a better life. It provides an escape route from the many poverty traps for young women in the developing world, such as childhood marriage, early pregnancy, increased risk of maternal death, exposure to HIV/AIDS and more.
We cheer on the bravery of girls like Malala. I think we should do more. We can promote access to clean water and sanitation for everyone. I support organizations like Water for People, a nonprofit charitable organization started in 1991 by members of the American Water Works Association. Their official mission is to help the most impoverished people worldwide improve their quality of life by supporting sustainable drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene projects.
I just signed and shared the “Everyone, Forever” commitment to play a role in providing access to clean water and sanitation services to everyone. Maybe somewhere a little girl will get to go to school because of my action! I sure hope so.