Pledge to make a difference, together.
Girl Determined is a leadership project designed to assist girls ages 12-17 to avoid the pitfalls of trafficking, dangerous labor and other forms of violence, by facilitating girls' recognition of their personal and group potential.
Because of our belief in girls as potential change-agents in their households, communities and nations, our program aims to increase girls' ability to make strategic life-decisions, generate choices and exercise bargaining power. This real empowerment creates opportunities for girls to better cope with their difficulties, envision alternatives and take leadership into their own hands.
The underlying premise of Girl Determined work is that educating, connecting, supporting and fostering the development of personal and group voice amongst marginalized adolescent girls will derail cycles of abuse, poverty and neglect. Not only is adolescence a period when girls are gaining abstract thinking skills and sexual awareness, it is a time when they are all too quickly being pressured to take on adult responsibility and this is particularly for girls, resulting in lost growth and development opportunities.
The rights of girls in Burma is often regarded as being equal to that of boys and girls rights, in general, is not thought of as a serious issue in the country, despite the fact that the sexual exploitation and the trafficking of young girls to China for forced marriage, for example, continues to increase, or that the so-called "un-wrapping" of girls (selling young, virgin girls into prostitution) continues to take place on the outskirts of Burma's most prosperous cities-Rangoon and Mandalay. This apathy, social acceptance and tolerance of rights violations against girls smacks of an underlying gender discrimination: a discrimination which forces more girls to drop out of school so their male siblings can continue; compels girls to engage in child labour, to support their families income or, more accurately, the short, often paltry economic interests of their parents/household at the expense of the best interest of the child. Girl Determined's work empowers girls to achieve that which is in their own best interest while working structurally to establish mechanisms for greater awareness of the specific needs of adolescent girls, their protection and increasing their life-opportunities. Girl Determined employs a three-pronged strategic approach: 1. Individual transformation - Adolescent girls will go through some form of personal transformation lending to a change in a girl's understanding of personal power and rights. Shifts will include reduction of shame and fear regarding violence, ability to identify and express situations of discrimination, value of self and education, motivation and skill to actively make decisions about ones future.
2. Network mobilization - Girls will develop a sense of connectedness with girls from across the country through their shared experiences and complex differences. By bringing girls together across space, through 'by-girls, for-girls' media projects, Girls' Forum and our Girls Advisory Board, girls will mobilize as defenders and actors. This wide network also creates a structure through which other programs could potentially be realized.
3. Research and Advocacy - Evidence-based research will assist Girl Determined in bringing increased attention to the plight and power of the girl child in Burma. We will focus research and related advocacy domestically, pushing governmental and non-governmental agencies to recognize the specific needs of girls in their programming.
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