On International Day of the Girl: Give Girl Power!

Today, 11 October, is the UN International Day of the Girl. We have seen time and again how vital it is, not just for individuals but for communities, to empower and support girls and young women.

That is one good reason to remember the Day of the Girl and we are going to introduce you to Karina, who is living proof that having friends who can help you find support can make an enormous difference.

Karina, a young Palestinian citizen of Israel, lives in Acre with her family. She shares a home with her parents, brother, sisters and grandfather. She likes Acre but it is overcrowded and poor and can be a difficult place to live. She misses the village in the countryside where her mother’s family live and where she has many friends.

Her lifelong dream is to work in medicine. She started studying and was on the way to reaching her goal of becoming a doctor. Then her life was shattered.

Karina suffered a sexual assault that left her traumatised, ashamed and afraid. She felt unable to talk about what had happened and changed from being an out-going ambitious young woman to a shadow of her former self. She began having suicidal thoughts and was unable to continue her medical training. She attempted to take her own life on four occasions.

Fortunately, Karina was not alone. Friends rallied round and introduced her to the International Christian Committee in Israel (ICCI). The ICCI provide services to girls and young women in Acre, just like Karina.

Karina was assigned a counsellor who meets her and talks on the phone when Karina needs a bit extra support. Although she initially only spoke to her counsellor when she felt upset, she soon realised that participating in the activities provided by the ICCI made her feel more positive and stronger – and the healing process began.

Karina says she could never speak to her parents about what happened to her but found the ICCI gave her a place to share her experience, feelings and fears without judgement or recrimination.

The support of the people at the project has given her the confidence to begin studying again and even to take a part-time job as a babysitter.

‘I'm stronger, I can speak freely about my experience, I don’t think about killing myself anymore; I think of a new future,’ says Karina.

There are many more girls and young women like Karina who need your help and so we created a brand new Alternative Gift, Girl Power.

You can support projects in Israel and across the Middle East that build a better future for young women and girls.

Stand with our sisters in the Middle East as they campaign for equality, promote health rights and work to bring an end to gender-based violence.

Give some Girl Power to young women and girls in the Middle East this International Day of the Girl! Thank you and bless your generosity.

 

Photo: Girls at ICCI project in Acre. Names have been changed.