This International Day of the Girl Child has been the most amazing experience at Ascham. It was preceded by a week of awareness-raising, as we discussed the significance of 11th October – only the second ever International Day on which the girl and her latent power to change the world have sat at the heart of our understanding. Educate a girl and you educate her children and her grandchildren; educate a girl and you also educate an entire community and nation.
These were the messages, and we heard and absorbed them in the days leading up to Friday so that when Friday came we were ready for our sponsored walk to raise funds and awareness on behalf of Plan International, whose “Because I am a Girl” campaign seeks to enable those millions of girls denied an education to go to school. We were the first to set off on the day on a walk that sought to bring girls in girls’ schools across the world together to walk the equivalent of the circumference of the world – a total of 40,075 km.
Our youngest girls, aged 4 to 8, walked 1.8 km around the school grounds, our junior girls walked 3 km down to and around Rushcutters Bay in Sydney, and our senior girls walked the full 10km to various iconic venues in the Blue Mountains and in Sydney, including to the Botanic Gardens, with a beautiful view over to the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
10km was a symbolic figure; it is the average distance a girl in the world needs to walk each day to collect water – a task that keeps her out of school and that therefore limits her choices and her life opportunities. We were walking in solidarity with those girls – girls walking with girls – and it was incredibly meaningful.
Moreover, this walk has brought the whole Ascham community together. Scroll down the comments on our JustGiving page, and you will see affirmation after affirmation of the worthiness of the cause. At the time of writing, the community has contributed $10,393, and this is phenomenal. It costs less than $100 to send a girl to school in Uganda for a year; think how many girls whose lives we have the potential to change for the better.
I was so proud of our girls today. They were great company, at ease with themselves, and understanding of their responsibility to show the world what can be done to empower and educate girls. And I was so proud of our entire Ascham community for rising to the global challenge that is ahead of us all.
Well done, Ascham!