NEW YORK, 5 February 2013 – Recently, a group of students from the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls who had learned about the tragic events in Pakistan that had left 14-year old Malala severely wounded wrote to The United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) expressing their solidarity, outrage and passion for education. Today we’d like to introduce you to each of these girls and their thoughts on education.
Rain Maya Lezama, ten years old
Why did you write this letter? Because it is not fair that some people only let boys go to school.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a violinist and an artist.
Excerpt from the letter: “It is not fair that girls can’t go to school. Even though people think boys are smarter than girls, they are wrong about that. Girls are just as smart as boys and deserve equal chances. We deserve to go to school. But we deserve to go to school to learn how to write, read, do math, spell and learn about the world. I am saying this because learning is power and in my world everyone has the right to go to school. Girls shouldn’t learn at school how to cook or how to be a good wife, we have the right to learn more. Girls also shouldn’t be forced to get married at age 12 and have children at age 14 or 15.”
Brianna Guillen, 9 years old
Why did you write this letter? Because girls deserve an education.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a doctor.
Excerpt from the letter: “Girls should go to school because all girls deserve an education. Girls were not meant to be servants. Many girls including myself want to change the world. Many girls die because some people are very careless about girls’ education. There is more to girls than just working and being in the house. Girls can be majors and presidents if they have a good education.”
Amanda Ramirez, 9 years old
Why did you write this letter? Because I am a girl who goes to school and I feel bad about other girls who can’t.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a teacher or work for the United Nations.
Excerpt from the letter: “Girls can change the world. One girl almost died from standing up for the rights of girls. That is not good. Girls are not just people you see cooking and cleaning. We are ready to change the world! We need good education because without knowing what is happening how are we going to change it? Girls need an education and they need to know a girl can change the world.”
Sonia Rodriguez, 9 years old
Why did you write this letter? Because I feel bad for girls who don’t have an education.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Doctor, I want to go around the world and treat girls and help them be healthy.
Excerpt from the letter: “I feel special and lucky to have the International Day of the Girl Child. That’s how I feel because not that many girls have the same power to go to school and have a good education like us. International Day of the Girl Child is important because we should celebrate how lucky we are to have the gift of freedom. When I say freedom I don’t mean any freedom. I mean us girls have the opportunity to have a good education.”
Princess Rodriguez, 9 years old
Why did you write this letter? Doesn’t matter your gender – all girls have the right to go to school. They shouldn’t have to sit around the house and clean.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A tourist, travel all around the world and discover new things.
Excerpt from the letter: “It is very sad that girls cannot speak up for themselves. These girls are just very desperate to go to school. I want their dreams to come true.”
Photos and story by: Rudina Vojvoda and Anne Denes