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Feature: International Day of the Girl

10 October 2013 - 3:04pm
| by Gaby

The violence and discrimination girls face each day across the globe is staggering. In fact, more girls were killed in the last 50 years because they were girls, than men killed in all the wars in the 20th century.This is why the UN has set aside today (11th October) to focus our attention on addressing the challenges girls face and promoting girls’ empowerment.

Here’s an excerpt from our Disqualified book which highlights the reality of life for girls in Pakistan…

The girl-child is perhaps the most vulnerable in Pakistani society. Although Pakistan is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the rights of the girl-child are grossly violated. The restricted access to education is just one of the many forms of discrimination she suffers. In 2009, in Swat Valley, over a hundred girls’ schools were attacked by militants attempting to enforce their ban on girls’ education beyond primary school. Those who contravene pay the price. In October 2012, 15-year-old Malala was targeted and shot by the Taleban for advocating for girls’ rights to education. Pakistan has the second largest number of children out of school in the world and 63% of these are girls.  Only 23.5 per cent of women over the age of 25 completed secondary level education.

When parents have to select between their boy or girl, many don’t send the girl to school because they feel it is not wise to waste money on a girl

Girl Talk

 ‘I am ten years old and I have lived in a hostel for one year. The area where my parents live is not secure for girls; the society is abusive and schools are far away…. I am away from my mother. I don’t like my father; he is very cruel with my mother, he is used to hitting my mother. I feel very insecure in my home environment. She bears my father’s violence and living with him. I have no hope in my life, and sometimes I want to die. But if I will hope for something in my life, it is for my good education and the peaceful life of my parents. I want to be an engineer. Education for me is everything.’ Nasha

‘I am seven years old. I left my family for my studies. I come from a village and in my family the grandparents are very conservative and are against education for me and my three sisters. To avoid dispute with the family, my parents have decided to send me away to study.’ Farah

Take Action

Fighting the injustices and inequalities that girls face every day is a vital part of our work here at Salvation Army International Development (SAID UK). We have produced a stunning photography exhibition and book highlighting the plight of women and girls we work with in Pakistan. Disqualified tells the personal stories of dozens of oppressed women and girls living in poor areas of the country who are being helped by the community development work of SAID UK.

Here’s what you can do:

Our Disqualified exhibition is a great way to enhance an event or attract a crowd


Submitted by Judith cole on

It's so sad that we take education for granted in this country ... I ve lived in Nepal and seen how eager the kids are to learn ... I bet teachers over here wish our students were all as eager to learn. In stead of the silly disruptive behaviour that often happens in our schools were its a given right that u get a free education x

Submitted by Moira Jones on

It is heartbreaking to hear of how little girls are cherished and more so when we know that many of our children take education as something they just have to get through rather than the value of it. I pray for girls who are so undervalued and also the hundreds and thousands who are aborted just because they are the "wrong" sex!

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