ISLAMABAD - An education exhibition titled: "Innovating for Girls' Education" as part of celebrations for the International Day of the Girl Child 2013 held on Friday that called for prioritise girls' education to tackle crippling poverty.
The International Day of the Girl Child recognises girl's rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. The United Nations adopted this day through Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child.
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) together with United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), observed the International Day of the Girl Child. State Minister for Education, Trainings and Standards in Higher Education Balighur Rehman inaugurated the expo. Representatives and officials of the government, Unicef, Unesco, representatives of the civil society organisations, media and students of the various educational institutes attended the expo.
The minister while addressing the expo said, "Offering education to girls is the shortest way to empower them." Unesco Country Director Kozeu Kay Nagata congratulated all the participants for Malala Yousafzai's win of the European Union's Annual Human Rights Award and said that it is a moment of great pride for all Pakistanis, especially all girls of this country. She also appealed for an increase in the GDP for education.
Unicef representative Miriam de Figueroa said that this day would provide a platform to highlight examples around Pakistan of ongoing work and what has been achieved as well as to raise the importance of innovation in advancing girls education in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Plan International Pakistan also launched the annual "Because I am a Girl" report at the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) auditorium on Friday. Plan's Because I am a Girl campaign aims at supporting four million girls to get the education, skills and support they need to move themselves from poverty to opportunity. One key focus area for the campaign is education.
The campaign calls for: Girls education to be prioritised by world leaders, Girls completion of a quality secondary education to be a major focus of international action, Funding for girls education to be increased, an end to child marriage, an end to gender-based violence in and around schools, girls and boys to participate in decision making and inspire those with power to take action.
The minister on the event remarked the out of US $ 10 million contributions made by Pakistan, US $ 7 million will be used in the education sector under Unesco's Malala Fund, while the remaining US $3 million would be used as a special fund that can be used globally by Unesco.
Sindh Minister for Women Development, Social Welfare and Special Education, Rubina S Qaimkhani said, "The Sindh Government is the peoples' government and we are doing whatever we can for the common people. Recently the Sindh assembly passed a resolution for increasing the minimum age for girls' marriage from 16 to 18 years."
Plan Pakistan Country Director Rashid Javed said, "Globally, it is estimated that 66 million girls are out of school, with one in five adolescent girls around the world denied an education by the daily realities of poverty, discrimination and violence, while disasters and emergencies can exacerbate these existing rights violations. Yet, supporting girls' education is one of the single best investments the government can make to help end poverty and give hope to girls who are otherwise denied their rights and aspirations."
Other notable speakers included Dr Mehar Taj Roghani, Minister for Social Welfare and Women Development, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Farzana Yaqoob, Minister Social Welfare, AJK; Mian Abdul Waheed, Minister Schools Education, AJK; Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, Minister for Population Welfare, Punjab, Jan Muhammad Buledi, Advisor to the Chief Minister of Balochistan; and Wazir Hassan, Parliamentary secretary Education, Women Development and Social welfare Gilgit-Baltistan.