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3 teens paving the way for girls in their communities

International Day of the Girl is just around the corner, and to celebrate, we’re showing you how girls around the world are transforming their lives and creating a brighter future for themselves, and for everyone around them.

We love seeing what the world’s girls are capable of when empowered, and we’re excited to share with you. Have a look!

Meet Nipa, 18, from Bangladesh

Did you know that in Bangladesh, less than 3% of all enterprises are run by women? Likewise, most mainstream banks favour men for business loans. Thankfully, young women like Nipa are breaking the mold.

Young girl writing in her notebook.

With the help of Plan, Nipa is able to employ and support herself and her family.

Nipa, 18, had an excellent business idea. She and her family produce 300 pairs of motorcycle hand grips every day, and she takes them to the market where they are sold.

With the help of Plan, Nipa is working with a business mentor, learning key business skills like marketing and accounting. She also received a small loan to get her business going. Nipa now has financial independence, confidence, and the room to grow her business.

“Now I feel great because it’s not common for girls like me to do this,” she explained. “I am independent, and now my family is, too.”

But Nipa’s life almost didn’t turn out like this. She could have easily lived in poverty, with limited education, working long hours in a garment factory making $40 a month. But with Plan’s support, Nipa is paving her own path. Way to go Nipa!

Meet Arba, 19, from Thailand

Young girl picking fruit from a tree.

Arba’s dream is to become a teacher and teach children in her remote village.

Arba comes from a poor family in northern Thailand. They’re part of the Akha tribe, which means they don’t have full Thai citizenship. As a result, Arba was never registered at birth and has no access to social services, health care or education. When it comes down to it, Arba is almost invisible.

“There are many things we can’t do,” explained Arba. “I work from 8am to 5pm on weekends, but only receive 100 baht (about $3.35). If I had a chance to go to school, I would study hard.”

But thanks to support from Plan, Arba received a girls’ scholarship, and today she is attending university. The scholarship covers transportation costs, uniforms, meals and her books. The scholarship program has helped more than 30 girls from similar backgrounds as Arba, ensuring they achieve dreams, too.

“This is the happiest time of my life,” said Arba. “I’m confident that the next chapter of my life will be better than ever.”

Meet Agnes, 16, from Uganda

Young girl stands arm-in-arm with her supportive father.

Agnes poses with her father, who buys sanitary pads for all 5 of his daughters.

Like many of her peers, Agnes was surprised when she got her period. She was convinced menstruation was shameful and she was teased by fellow students. Without proper supplies or resources at school, Agnes decided to skip school.

“I hated missing all those lessons,” she said. “I couldn’t play with my friends or play football with my brothers. I could only lie in bed.”

Agnes is not alone. It’s estimated that half the girls in Uganda miss between 1 to 3 days of school per month because of their period. Even 1 day is too many, and a problem that can be solved.

Seeing the need for change, Plan began running health classes at Agnes’ school. The classes teach students about personal hygiene and sexual health. Plan also began building separate latrines and change rooms for girls in schools across Uganda, so they could wash and change privately, and without shame.

But it’s Plan’s partnership with AFRIpads that has changed Agnes’ daily life the most. These washable cloth sanitary pads are eco-friendly and cost-effective, and they’re helping girls like Agnes stay in school. Now Agnes supports other girls experiencing the dilemma, sharing her knowledge and AFRIpads in emergency situations.

These 3 young women now look forward to a brighter future, thanks to your support.

Help change the lives of even more girls.

Girls’ rights are human rights.
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