- Community Empowerment
Friday, September 26, 2008
Global Campaign for Education
New York, United States
You can't write your own name or that of your child.
You started work, not at 16, 18 or 21, but at 5.
You earn so little – even after years of toil – that your own daughter, too, must work…
And so the cycle begins.
Millions of adults live this reality – 774 million… all illiterate … most of them women.
Millions of children will join them – 75 million … none with a day's schooling … most of them girls.
This needless tragedy casts a shadow over us all. Educating these young people would dispel the darkness; educating these girls would light up lives all around the world.
Because an educated woman can give so much to society.
A girl who has been to school will become a woman who spends more on education and medicine for her children.
A girl who has been to school will become a woman who works harder for better schools, cleaner hospitals and safer streets.
A girl who has been to school will become a woman who improves her country and watches her children follow in her footsteps .
A girl who has been to school grows up with self-confidence, and becomes a woman who gives back with self-respect.
And so the cycle is reversed.
Not educating our daughters seems a paradox.
That's why, today, I am here to sign this statement on Education for All; education is a right … girls count… and schools don't just build lives, they save them.
An education acts as a shield against maternal and infant mortality as well as HIV infection. And when a girl lives to become a woman we get another doctor … teacher … mother … citizen… who can join the productive ranks of society… who can work her and her family's way out of poverty.
So why are girls not in school?
Because they’re fetching water from wells miles from home.
They’re toiling in factories or workshops to make ends meet.
They’re dropping out of class because there are no toilets.
And because some families just don’t think it’s worth investing in a daughter when her husband’s family is going to reap the dividends.
We’ve seen some progress since the world’s leaders pledged here in New York to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
We’ve seen some progress on primary education…some progress when leaders take bold action… and when pledges of funding are followed through.
But some progress isn’t enough.
Our deadline of 2015 is feasible… it is also indispensable and non-negotiable. It is a test we cannot afford to fail.
We know what it takes. And whenever we’ve shown the will, we’ve found the way.
So I challenge us all – government leaders, the private sector, and civil society to work together to make 72 million children smile…to guide 72 million children onto the right track…to give 72 million children choices…to change 72 million children’s lives.
Let’s keep our promise to them. Let’s keep our promise of education for all.
Thank you very much.