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United Against Harmful Practices Video – Featuring Survivors of Child Marriage and Forced Marriage

I’m so happy to announce that the video for the June 13th United Against Harmful Practices is now on YouTube.  Why am I happy?  I’m happy because the awareness can be spread about the human rights abuses discussed during the Zoom meeting.  No one should suffer child marriage or forced marriage.

Some individuals tried to stop our meeting by zoom bombing it.  They tried to share inappropriate images, and tried to silence us, but we will not be silenced.  It’s important to speak up about this and not be intimidated. The zoom recording would have been available a lot earlier had these horrible individuals not interfered.  However, our recording is mostly unaffected except in one place where unfortunately one part was shorter than it should have been for one of the speakers.  That speaker was amazing!  She dealt with the interruption so magnificently, I was amazed.  

Please do watch the video, as I believe it is enlightening, empowering and even educational.  Where else have so many survivors all been under one roof so to speak (even if it was the Zoom roof) and told their very real and personal stories?  We are doing this to spread awareness so that no other child should suffer what we went through.  Thanks in advance for watching.

United Against Harmful Practices, Zoom Webinar – June 13, 2020 – Speaker Information

Join us for this Zoom Webinar which will take place on Saturday, June 13th at 11 AM PST / 2PM EST / 7 PM UK time and will feature survivors of forced marriage and child marriage who will speak their personal stories of the heartbreaking circumstances that led up to their human rights abuse, how they dealt with it and how they rose past it. This is not a presentation you want to miss as there are amazing speakers lined up. There will be five speakers, and Jasvinder Sanghera will be the moderator. Here is more information on the speakers.

Jasvinder Sanghera CBE

Founder of Karma Nirvana, and Forced Marriage Survivor

Jasvinder Sanghera was born and brought up in Derby. A survivor of a forced marriage, she is the founder of Karma Nirvana, a national award winning charity that supports both men and women affected by honour based abuse and forced marriages. Jasvinder is the Independent Safeguarding Chair for Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership and is a member of the Safeguarding Panel for the Church of England.


She is a highly acclaimed international speaker and an expert advisor to the courts in matters of child, civil and criminal proceedings, is a chair of domestic homicide reviews and was instrumental in ensuring that all UK police forces are required to improve their understanding of honour based abuse and forced marriage by inspections conducted by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.


Her memoir ‘Shame’ was a Times Top 10 Bestseller and described in the House of Lords as a ‘political weapon’. Jasvinder is recognised as bringing the issue of forced marriage into the public domain and Prime Minister David Cameron stated that her work ‘turned my head on the issue of forced marriage’. Her work is recognised as being pivotal to the creation of a specific UK forced marriage criminal offence in 2014. Her successful claim of sexual harassment against a peer in the House of Lords was the first in its 479 year history and has already led to an increase in reporting and resulted in significant changes in the House of Lords policy and practice including greater debates and reforms, resulting in a House of Lords independent inquiry into sexual harassment and bullying.


She has received numerous awards including the prestigious Woman of the Year 2007. She was made an Honorary Doctor of the University of Derby in 2008. She was awarded The Pride of Britain Award in 2009 and was named Cosmopolitan Ultimate Woman of the Year in 2010. In 2011 she was listed in the Guardian’s top 100 Most Inspirational Women in the World and in 2012 received the Global Punjabi Award. She was awarded Commander of the British Empire in 2013 in recognition of her outstanding contribution for the victims of forced marriage and honour based abuse and in 2014 was awarded Legal Campaigner of the Year. Jasvinder is also listed as an entry in the 2016 edition of the book Who’s Who and in the same year received the International Woman Award for human rights from the Italian media. In 2018 she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law by De Montfort University, Leicester, Woman of the Year by Leeds City Council and in 2019 she was awarded the Robert Burns Humanitarian of the Year Award and also the Sikh Woman of Substance Award. For more information please visit: jasvindersanghera.com

Dawn Tyree

Child Marriage Survivor

Dawn Tyree is an author, activist, speaker, and a founding member of The National Coalition to End Child Marriage in the U.S. The story of her experience as a child forced into marriage has been published in The New York Times, Reuters, and translated into more than 12 different languages. She was featured in a two-hour documentary on child marriage in the U.S. as part of the A & E Network docuseries, “I Was a Child Bride: The Untold Story” with Elizabeth Vargas that aired April 2019. A personal essay, “I Turned my Child Marriage Trauma into Activism” was published January 2020 in YES! Magazine. Her poem, “The Forest Dweller,” appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of Portland Metrozine; and her essay “Spotlight On Child Marriage” was published in the Summer 2019 issue. 

Contact

Twitter – @Dawnbtyree

Instagram – @dawnbtyree

Facebook – @DawnTyree

Davinder Kaur

Forced Marriage Survivor

Picture Credit: SD Lens

Davinder Kaur was born and raised in Bradford, England.  She was just 14 years old when she was shown the picture of a man she would have to marry at the age of 18.  Try as she might, Davinder could not get out of the agreement.   Davinder knows only too well that many arranged marriages are really forced marriages.  She escaped from her forced marriage 6 weeks after the marriage took place.  She now shares her story in the aim of spreading awareness via social media as well as with public speaking.  She is a strong believer in education first, then marriage, as her right to education was denied to her after High School as she was told that since marriage was on the agenda for her, there was no need for further education.  

Davinder recently became a member of the National Coalition to End Child Marriage, as well as the California Coalition to End Child Marriage.  She has already independently mentored a forced marriage victim from India who was referred to her by a friend, and now looks forward to mentoring forced marriage victims for Unchained At Last soon.  Davinder wants to see an end to child marriage, not just here in California, but all over the USA, and all over the world.  She met with Assemblymember Brian Maienschein’s office earlier in February 2020, to plea her case of ending child marriage in California and also presented her story as well as petition on Change.org.  She’s hoping with the help of Unchained At Last and the CA Coalition to End Child Marriage, that California will become the next state to raise the marriage age to 18, with no exceptions.

Davinder welcomes you to sign her petition https://www.change.org/EndChildMarriageAndEndForcedMarriage as she feels that all petitions like this should be signed for very necessary change to take place.  She would also like you to write a letter to support the Digital Letter Writing Campaign put together by the CA Coalition to End Child Marriage.  Since Davinder lives in CA, this is where she will aim her attention first with making change. She also wants to see forced marriage criminalized here in the USA, just like it was in the UK.  She is proud to have signed numerous petitions against forced marriage, and her signature was also on the petition to criminalize forced marriage in the UK.  Davinder is a strong believer that oceans and borders are insignificant when it comes to the fight against human rights abuse.  Anyone has the power to be part of change by adding their voice, and adding their signature.  She also wants to see schools and colleges teach the students about human rights abuses such as child marriage, forced marriage and honor-based abuse.  Davinder wants to see law enforcement trained here in the USA just like they were in the UK to improve their understanding of honor-based abuse and forced marriage.

Davinder moved to the USA when she was 22, and now lives in San Diego, where she graduated from university late in life with a Bachelors in Business Administration, and is the proud mother of three children.  Her oldest daughter is 23 years old and has a Bachelor’s Degree, and is now pursuing a Master’s Degree in Nursing.  Her son is 18 years old and at college and her youngest daughter is 11 years old.  She likes to remind them about the importance of education first, then marriage!  Davinder is in the process of writing her first book which is about her forced marriage experience.

Contact

Twitter – @luchank and @angel4many

Instagram – @luchanik

YouTube – @luchaniktravel

Facebook – @luchanik

Pinterest – @luchanik

Website: https://luchanik.com

Sara Tasneem

Child Marriage Survivor

Sara Tasneem is a forced child marriage survivor.  As a mentor and activist, she works publicly to enact legislation that would legally ban child marriage in United States. Sara works to create awareness of child marriage in the U.S. by sharing her story across national and international media outlets, through educational seminars, public speaking events, and by lobbying legislative bodies to end child marriage. She has a master’s degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Golden Gate University. 

Sara volunteers with non-profit Unchained at Last as a mentor to young girls and women who are leaving their abusive forced child marriages and is a member of the steering committee for the  National Coalition to End Child Marriage in the United States, She works with multiple non-profits along with other survivors to create a network of survivor led advocacy to end child marriage in the U.S.


At just fifteen, Tasneem was forced to marry a 28-year-old stranger. Sadly, she is not alone. Statistics from non-profit Unchained At Last report that 248,000 children as young as 12 were married in the United States between 2000 and 2010. 87% percent of minors who married between 2000 and 2015 were girls. (Frontline, 2017).  According to Sara, ending child marriage in the United States is an uphill battle because each state must approve new bills limiting the age of marriage to 18. Many states, including California, are reticent to pass such bills because of age-old patriarchal views of marriage and pregnancy. In 2017, Delaware and New Jersey passed the marriage laws necessary to limit the age of marriage to 18 with no exceptions. After the age of 18, individuals are considered adults and can access the vital services they might need if they experience abuse or want to divorce their partners. Currently, 48 out of 50 states still allow children under the age of 18 to marry with parental consent. Join Sara in her fight to end child marriage in California today by signing her petition at Change.org.

Payzee Mahmod

Child Marriage Survivor, and Campaigner, IKWRO

Payzee Mahmod is a survivor of FGM and child marriage, who lost her sister Banaz in a tragic “honour” killing, Payzee’s is a Kurdish immigrant, raised in London, with a successful career in the fashion industry, she uses her voice to speak out and has made it her mission to be a change maker, helping to tackle these harmful practices. 

Payzee has joined IKWRO in the Campaigns Team, she has reached international audiences speaking widely on the need for changes to the laws surrounding child marriage and “honour” based abuse in her TEDX talk, across radio, television and newspapers, including The Sunday Times and the BBC. Through speeches at Parliament and meeting with government officials and the Home Office Minister to explain first-hand why change is needed, Payzee campaigns for better education, training and legislation to finally make child marriage a crime.

Contact

Email: contact@payzeemalika.co.uk

Twitter & Instagram: @payzeemalika

Website: https://www.payzeemalika.co.uk/

Fraidy Reiss

Founder/Executive Director, Unchained At Last

Fraidy was 19 when her family arranged for her to marry a man who turned out to be violent. But with no education or job, in an insular religious community where only men have the right to grant a divorce, she felt trapped.

Still trapped at age 27, Fraidy defied her husband and community to become the first person in her family to go to college. She graduated from Rutgers University at age 32 as valedictorian (called “commencement speaker” at Rutgers).

Her family declared her dead, but Fraidy persevered: With her journalism degree, she was hired as a reporter for the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, eventually getting promoted to the paper’s elite investigative-reporting team. She went on to a career as an investigator at Kroll, the world’s largest investigations firm. At the same time, Fraidy managed to get divorced, win full custody of her two daughters and get a final restraining order against her ex-husband.

But Fraidy knows that most women and girls who want to flee or resist an arranged/forced marriage are limited by finances, religious law and social customs. For them, Fraidy founded and now leads Unchained At Last.

Fraidy is recognized internationally as an expert on forced and child marriage in America. Her writing on the subject has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post and countless other publications in the U.S. and beyond, and she has been interviewed and featured by those outlets as well as Financial Times, BBC, PBS, NPR, CBS and others. Legislation she helped to write to end or reduce child marriage has been introduced and, in some cases, already passed in multiple U.S. states.

Here is the flyer for the event and to register for the event, please do so at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/united-against-harmful-practices-tickets-106806695702

United Against Harmful Practices – Zoom Webinar on June 13, 2020

I’m so excited and proud to announce a survivor’s presentation unlike any before! This is a Zoom Webinar which will take place on Saturday, June 13th at 11 AM PST / 2PM EST / 7 PM UK time and will feature survivors of forced marriage and child marriage who will speak their personal stories of the heartbreaking circumstances that led up to their human rights abuse, how they dealt with it and how they rose past it. This is not a presentation you want to miss as there are amazing speakers lined up.

Confirmed Speakers

Moderator: Jasvinder Sanghera, Founder of Karma Nirvana and Forced Marriage Survivor

  • Fraidy Reiss, Founder of Unchained At Last, and Forced Marriage Survivor
  • Davinder Kaur, Forced Marriage Survivor
  • Sara Tasneem, Child Marriage Survivor
  • Dawn Tyree, Child Marriage Survivor
  • Payzee Mahmod, Child Marriage Survivor and IKWRO Campaigner  

To see more info about the speakers, see Speaker Information

Please sign up ASAP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/united-against-harmful-practices-tickets-106806695702

 

Schools Need To Monitor Playground Activity

Well, I’ve had a very hard week.  Chandra, my youngest has been hurt 3 times!  What a week!  Please can we not have a repeat?

I mainly want to focus on Incident 2 and 3 here as they both had to do with the school playground.  However, to be fair, I have to briefly touch upon the 1st incident.   Incident 1 was to do with the TV at home nearly falling on top of her, since she had pulled out too many drawers of the chest of drawers where the TV resided on.  I heard a scream, and then she gave me the fright of my life, and hers too – when she said the TV had almost gone on her head, and it had brushed her arm.  She could have broken her arm!  This occurred last Friday.  My lesson was learned, I moved that TV away from her room – she will not have another one in there.  She never watched it anyway in there.

Then on Tuesday, she fell off the bars at her school’s playground, not the monkey bars exactly, but similar bars, called pull-up-bars, where she likes to do backward flips.  She fell on her back, and I had to leave work early.  When I got the call, I was so scared, as I didn’t know what to expect.  The school nurse said her back was stiff. Well, it turned out she was okay, and nothing was broken.

Now the 3rd incident was the most heart-wrenching and gruelling one for me, even though she did not get as dangerously hurt, she was more terrifyingly hurt.  I got a call from the school Principal while I was at work, on Thursday (just yesterday) at around 3pm.  She described the incident below, and said she wanted to bring it to my attention, and that she has addressed the situation, and that no one should be pushing someone around, and throwing them into the bushes.  She said she has dealt with it properly.  She did not tell me the names of the kids involved, and said if Chandra told me that is different.  I can understand her need to be discreet.

Below, is an account of what happened yesterday, as told by Chandra to me about two and a half hours after the Principal described it to me, I wrote it all down and then sent the email.   I have cut and pasted it from an email I sent to the teacher, and Chandra’s Principal (just slightly modified as I was really mad and seething, and didn’t care if I used quotation marks for referring to what a particular kid said before I pressed “send” on the email.    I have in this post of course, disguised all the people’s names, replacing them with Boy X or Boy Z, etc (the letter does not even represent their first or last name) and Teacher A or Teacher B (same rule applies, this does not represent the adults’ first or last name.  I will leave Chandra’s name in it as this is a real story, and real stories must be told, in the hopes that people will learn and things will change.

Hi Teacher A,
I talked to Chandra after picking her up from the ……….., and asked her about the incident that you called me about this afternoon.  She told me that she and Boy A accidentally bumped into each other, and she said sorry to him, but he didn’t say sorry back to her. She believes he thought Chandra was mad with him and that was why he ran away, so she ran after him to say sorry again, because she thought he didn’t hear her.  Meanwhile a boy named Boy B, saw she was chasing Boy A, and called out to Boy A and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll hold her down”, and then he chased Chandra.  She stopped outside her class (where she should have been safe), and as was out of breath, she sat on the bench (again………right outside her class) and Boy B came up to her and held her down on the bench.  Boy B asked  “Where is the ruby?” to Chandra, and Chandra said she doesn’t know about any ruby, and she doesn’t have one.  Another boy, Boy C, was right next to Chandra and said “You are under arrest, here’s your handcuffs”, and produced some string.  He just held it, but didn’t put it on Chandra or hold her down, but neither did he help her.  He actually thought it was time to joke at a time like this, instead of helping Chandra.  He just goes along with it as though this is a game and Chandra is playing!  How can this be?  I am shocked that he couldn’t have helped Chandra, and allowed her to get hurt this way.  Boy B then pushed Chandra to the bushes, and she straightened up, and he asked “Is the ruby in the bushes?” She said “There is no ruby and it’s not in the bushes”.     He said “thanks for your help, and now I’m going to let you go”.

Meanwhile, her friend Girl A was around this whole time, and was the only one trying to help Chandra.  She was actually screaming “Help” , “Can you guys leave her alone, she was just trying to say sorry to Boy A” and she said “help, please stop” at least 3 times, and nobody helped!  In fact, Chandra said there was a male teacher or parent volunteer close by right by the handball courts close to her class, and even though Chandra was screaming really loud as well as Girl A, this adult male did not help them.  How can you have staff members around or parent volunteers who are not doing their job and being observant, or protecting the kids as they are supposed to be?  How could this possibly happen?  Right outside her class, where she should have been safe, she was terrorized by a boy, with another boy looking on oblivious to her pain!  Kids and adults ignoring her cries, and screams for help, as well as ignoring Girl A.  I find this totally horrible, and inexcusable, and really hope that you will tell this Boy B to stay away from Chandra, and never go close to her ever again!  How dare he terrorize her this way!  Disgusting!

I know you said you handled it, but I really hope you have, and that you talk to both these boys parents, especially Boy B.  You must give an additional lecture to the kids on not staying quiet, and telling on one another – I’ve had to say this time and time again.  I don’t know what is going on with the kids at your school.  They are not very nice with helping each other when they see others being attacked or victimized.  Please do something about this.

Thank you,

Davinder

Well, I know I go on and on in emails, and sometimes in my posts, but how would you feel if this happened to your kid?  I find it very worrying.  A little 7 year old girl, is constantly picked on at this school by one kid or another.  Just to give you an example, just about two months ago she told me that the teacher had walked away, and another little girl who was sitting next to her told Chandra to get out of her square.  They have squares on the carpet in her class where they sit down.  She then continued to kick Chandra repeatedly, while other kids were watching, and not one kid stood up for Chandra and told on her!  Do you know why?  They teach kids in this country to not “tattle-tale” which I think means the equivalent of what we used to say in the UK and what I am still used to saying “telling tales on one another”, so the kids stay quiet or they get told off for “tattle-telling or whatever you call it.  Why can’t they teach them to tell on each other, and this way little kids like Chandra wouldn’t be victimized while the rest complacently watch and allow it to happen.  No wonder, they grown up, and continue that same pattern of watching and not telling.  I then have to do this extra work, and tell the teachers that this is wrong, and change your methods, tell the kids to tell.  I tell Chandra to tell on other kids all the time, if she sees something happen, and if anyone does anything to her, to not let them get away with it.  Just tell on them, and don’t be afraid.  What is this world coming to?  Also, if teachers don’t tell parents when their kids are doing bad things, how will the parents appropriately lecture their kids and teach them what is right and wrong?  Sometimes, forget the teachers telling parents, I don’t even think they tell the kids off!  Let’s also not forget the playground monitors.  What on earth are they doing?  Drinking coffee, talking to one another or going on their phones?  Aren’t they supposed to be there to monitor.  Remember, my little girl was being terrorized by another little boy, while another boy watched, and her screams and that of her friend were ignored by many kids, the playground volunteer, and God knows who else!  The saddest thing too, is it happened outside her class where she should have been safe.  Actually, come to think of it, isn’t she supposed to be safe in her school playground and school all the time, without question?

I know I write long emails, I know I write long posts, but I won’t apologize for getting worked up. I will defend her. I will defend all my kids.  They don’t call me Davinder, the defender, for no reason.

The Importance Of Education

image Read to your child, it’s one of the most important things you can do.  Give them the gift of an education. Do you know there are so many children – especially girls – who are deprived of an education?  They would love to be read to and to have the gift of learning.

The importance of education for many girls in my opinion, is so that we need to  break away from the mold that is most commonly made for us.  We are expected to fit that mold perfectly, and therefore, we would be expected to just be domesticated wives, cooking, cleaning, and bringing up children.  We are not expected to obtain a higher education, or go out and get a job in most cases.  The importance of education therefore, is that we can break this stereotype.  We need to be productive.  We need to know there is more than just being a maid-servant, who is at someone’s beck and call.  We need to have a bit more power.  We need to have some control.   Education can give us this, it can broaden our horizons, and show us that so much that happened to many is wrong, and can’t be continued.  Education is power – it’s knowledge.

So next time, you read to your little girl – give her a hug, and spare more than a thought for other girls deprived of education for various reasons – complicated reasons that we would never wish upon our own girls.  But, their pain needs to be our pain – for if we don’t fight for them, who will?  If we are part of humanity, we must stop their pain and suffering and try our best to fight for an education for all.  We must fight for an end to certain atrocities that are forced upon these girls, such as child marriage, child labor and human trafficking.  Let girls be girls and not brides.  Let girls be girls and not slaves, or victims.  Give them an education, and break the cycle of certain cultural practices.  When you pick up a book tonight to read to your little girl, give her a hug….and strive to make it a world where every little girl is being read to and more importantly, allowed to continue her education.  Education first, then marriage.

Her Name Is Chandra…..Not Shaandra

Happy New Year everyone!  I haven’t written much lately, but what can I say….life has been busy!  Today, I am deviating from my usual topics of travel to something about my little girl – her name.  Her name is Chandra, and I’m kind of getting irritated that she keeps on getting called Shaandra.  I distinctly remember telling her Kindergarten teacher on the first day of school about my daughter’s name and how to pronounce it.  Yet, I have noticed that she keeps on referring to her as Shaandra (I elongate the name the way Americans pronounce it – quite stretched out).  But, not only does the teacher call her Shaandra, now all her classmates and the entire school (everyone who knows her there) is calling her the same name.

What would you do in a situation like this?  I let it go for a while, but then I brought it up to the teacher’s attention at a conference in the politest way that I could as it feels like I am almost being mean by telling someone they are wrong, but this is my daughter’s name and it’s important.  I know Chandra has told her teacher too that her name starts with a “Ch”, but she is also being ignored.  I was ignored in the parent/teacher conference too as two minutes later in the conversation, I heard the teacher again say “Shaandra”.  What could I do?  Should I have said “excuse me, you just got my daughter’s name wrong again?”.  This is kind of a complex problem.  However, I did remind her at the end of the conference about Chandra’s name, and if she could please try calling her Chandra and not Shaandra.  She said she would try to remember to consciously think about the pronunciation of my daughter’s name, however, I believe she did not make an effort at all since I asked Chandra later in the day after school whether her teacher had started to call her Chandra, and she told me she still calls her Shaandra.  I was quite disappointed.  I told Chandra to correct her teacher the next day, but sadly she told me her teacher just ignored her.  The other day I hear a sixth grader who seemed really nice, say “Hi, Shaandra” and I almost wanted to say “her name is Chandra”.  When I told Chandi (that’s her nickname) that she should have told her, she said that would be mean.

I can relate to the teacher in some ways, since I used to mispronounce someone’s name – when a  family friend  had been introduced to me with an incorrect pronunciation, that’s how I used to say his name, and that is how I thought his name was pronounced.  It finally dawned upon me that we were saying it incorrectly (me and my kids and the person who had introduced us to the family friend), and even though it was hard to change the way I said it, it was the only correct thing to do.  After all, I wasn’t pronouncing his name properly and that wasn’t fair, so I made the effort, and now it’s easy to say it properly.  The teacher must do this very same thing too.  After all, she is a teacher and should be concerned about pronouncing the names of all her students properly – after all they are her students and she is influencing all the other students to say my daughter’s name incorrectly.  Now, other parents are saying it incorrectly, as well as the sixth grader and who knows how many others in the school?  Is anyone paying attention to my little Chandi?  She does count.  Her name counts.  I wish they would say her name properly.  It’s Chandra with a “Ch” and not with a “Sh”.  Prince Charles would not be amused if you called him Prince Sharles.  It would be quite unpardonable.  Anyway, why do Americans find it hard to say “Ch” as in Charles and seem dispositioned to make a “Sh” noise when something is spelt with a “Ch”.  In England, we would not have this problem.  “Ch” is quite clearly a “ch” noise and we got taught “Ch” for Charles, “Ch” for cheese, “Ch” for charming.  Where did “Sh” come into the picture?  “Sh” is clearly “Sh” for “shine”, “Sh” for “shoe” and “Sh” for shirt.  They are distinctly different.  Should I be telling a Kindergarten teacher this or should she be teaching this very same thing to these 4, 5 and 6 year olds?

As to the next step in this matter, perhaps I have to send an email to the teacher and ask her to please apply more effort and to address the entire class so that they will also make an effort and pronounce my daughter’s name properly.  If this doesn’t work, then I might have to address the entire school in an assembly and appeal to them to say my little girl’s name properly.  Am I making too much of this?  I would do anything for Chandra, and I think teaching people to pronounce her name properly is one of the best gifts that I can give her, otherwise she will struggle unfortunately with people telling her that her name is not Chandra, it’s Shaandra…..yes, this is happening already.  My daughter does know her own name, please give her credit for that.

At Legoland

At Legoland

Here are some pictures taken in Washington, DC:

The Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

The Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

World War Two Memorial

World War Two Memorial

IMG_0168

Incase you are wondering how to pronounce this Princess’ name, it’s really simple…..here’s the Indian sounding pronunciation of it:

http://www.pronouncenames.com/search?name=chandra

Here’s another version:

http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=Chandra

I couldn’t record my own voice easily into a similar soundbite, so I was compelled to delve into my video footage and I made another video (it’s been awhile!) – it’s a brief clip of the Washington, DC World War Two Memorial:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQhIGMUlbA0

In the video, it starts off with me talking to Chandra, so you’ll hear me say her name.  We all have our own accents and our own pronunciation and that is fine, but just please don’t call her Shaandra.

International Day Of The Girl

Happy International Day of The Girl!  October 11th has been designated by the United Nations General Assembly to be the “International Day Of The Girl Child”.  This is the second Day Of The Girl, as this day was recognized in honor of girls beginning on October 11th, 2012.

For millions of girls all around the world who don’t get equal rights for whatever reasons, this is your day!  So many girls don’t get the right to an education, because other “priorities” such as marriage are forced upon them.  Education can open up the doors to a wider understanding of the world around us, and this is our right.  Celebrate the Day Of The Girl today, and hopefully one day girls everywhere will get the right to an education.

With an education, girls everywhere can become all they desire to be, they can be a scientist, judge, teacher, lawyer, doctor, and they can become leaders.  They can make it to the other side of the gates of the White House.

The White House, Washington, DC

I know that my children will get an education, and it won’t stop at just High School, as so many other girls’ educations do (if they are lucky enough to get that far).  I will give them the gift, and their right to go to college.

Oh, by the way…..this day is also for women who may have suffered the lack of education in the past due to circumstances such as those described or for any other reasons not mentioned.  Happy Day Of The Girl.

To find out more about Day Of The Girl, visit http://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/

Happy Day Of The Girl

Today is a fabulous day, it is the first International Day Of the Girl!  October 11, 2012 is auspicious because it has been designated by the United Nations General Assembly to be the “International Day Of The Girl Child”.

For millions of girls all around the world who don’t get equal rights for whatever reasons, this is your day!  So many girls don’t get the right to an education, because other “priorities” such as marriage are forced upon them.  Education can open up the doors to a wider understanding of the world around us, and this is our right.  Celebrate the Day Of The Girl today, and hopefully one day girls everywhere will get the right to an education.

With an education, girls everywhere can become all they desire to be, they can be a scientist, judge, teacher, lawyer, doctor, and they can become leaders.  They can make it to the other side of the gates of the White House.

The White House, Washington, DC

I know that my children will get an education, and it won’t stop at just High School, as so many other girls’ educations do (if they are lucky enough to get that far).  I will give them the gift, and their right to go to college.

Oh, by the way…..this day is also for women who may have suffered the lack of education in the past due to circumstances such as those described or for any other reasons not mentioned.  Happy Day Of The Girl.

To find out more about Day Of The Girl, visit http://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/

Happy Day Of The Girl

Youth United for Global Action and Awareness (YUGA)

On October 11, 2012, people around the world will celebrate the first International Day of the Girl. The United Nations made the day official just last year, thanks in part to the advocacy efforts of Plan International USA.

In honor of the day, Plan is bringing female representatives from several of the countries where Because I Am a Girl projects are making a difference, thanks to your generous contributions to the cause. These young women will be in New York City for the first week of October, where they will have the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience, and to have a high-level impact on the international effort to invest in girls’ rights and education.

Read a little about these extraordinary young women–and you’ll see why they were chosen to represent their country and community!

Fabiola, 18, Cameroon. Fabiola is a member of Plan Cameroon’s Youth Empowerment…

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