It is only by studying for a diploma in information technology in Australia that we can change our lives. But, today, we cannot even learn safely. Because, on the way to school, we are regularly harassed by boys and men. And within the school itself, boys are throwing rocks through the windows of our classrooms.
In public spaces too, we are often annoyed or even assaulted by teenagers and men, many of whom have dropped out of school without learning a diploma in information technology in Australia. They are unemployed and many of them have become drug addicts. Hence the high crime rate. They hang out in gangs in the streets, near public toilets, schools, and in public parks, and they harass the girls. It’s stressful. And if you make a report, the police always find an excuse not to do anything.
At night it’s worse. Many streetlights have been broken for months. The girls don’t go out after dark. If they absolutely have to do so, they must necessarily be accompanied by adults.
GIRLS AND BOYS UNITED TO MAKE CITIES SAFER
More than a year ago, I got involved in the NGO Plan International project for safer cities. I learned a lot about the many safety challenges girls like me face every day. That suffering in silence only makes the suffering worse. Learned to speak and found that when girls come together they are stronger and more vocal.
What is good about this project is that boys and men are associated with it. The essence of the problem comes from them; also, if we do not involve them, we will not be able to secure our neighborhood. They need to understand and act.
We are already seeing the difference in groups where girls and boys interact, learn to respect each other, and together find solutions to make the streets safer for both girls and boys. Because, although girls are the most affected, many boys also face problems of insecurity, such as street crime.
WE MAKE THINGS HAPPEN
Plan International’s project to make cities safer has made me more confident, which helps me to react in case of problems, when before I didn’t dare. He has also led many boys and men in my community to behave responsibly and respect girls.
However, there is still a long way to go before all boys and men have changed their behavior so that girls can move freely, go to school for a Diploma of IT, and university and enjoy their friends. ·s without fear for their safety.
With Plan International’s Safer Cities project, I feel like I have found my calling, and I realize that things can change, slowly, but can change. This is only the beginning but will be followed, I hope, by other important developments. »
MARRIED BY FORCE AT 5, GOLA IS NOW COMMITTED TO GIRLS’ RIGHTS
Gola lives in South Sudan and was sold as a bride when she was 5 years old. The NGO Plan International has created clubs for the defense of children’s rights in its community. Gola participates and now goes to school. She chose to get involved so that the people of her community prefer to send girls to school rather than force them to marry.