International Day of the Girl Child
Happy International Day of the Girl Child
International day of the girl child is celebrated on 11th October, 2016. It is a celebration to support more opportunity for girls by increasing awareness of inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender. This inequality includes areas such as access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, and protection from discrimination, violence against women and unfree child marriage.
The theme for this year’s International Day of the Girl is Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement.
Indian Women have changed the landscape of sports for the better through their brilliant performances at the Rio Games and brought accolades to the Indian shores. Herbalife sponsored athletes Saina Nehwal, Mary Kom and Heena Sidhu belong to the generation who were the catalysts to magnify that change. Each of them had their own set of challenges which they overcame to open doors and India’s medal tally in the world arena. They have always believed that a society where girls’ progress improve not only their family but the nation as a whole.
All this was possible through their undying commitment, quench for advancement and empowering themselves to be the epitome of success in their respective field of sports. Today is a good time to take note of the achievements made by our sponsored women athletes and feel inspired on their feats. Each of them are doing their bit to support and encourage the current and upcoming generation of young athletes in the field of sports.
Mary Kom has opened up a Mary Kom SAI Boxing Academy which aims to teach boxing to underprivileged youth in Manipur and other parts of North-East India. There are approximately 30 girls who are currently training and receiving nutritional food products from Herbalife under the academy to achieve similar feat as Mary Kom in boxing.
Mary Kom is also currently supporting the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” (Save a girl child, Educate a girl child) initiative which is a Government of India scheme that aims to generate awareness and improve the efficiency of welfare services meant for women. The objective of the initiative being ensuring survival and protection, education and participation of girl child which would eventually lead them to realize their full potential. “Education acts as a key in achieving a sustainable and equitable world and makes a girl more confident”, says Mary Kom.
Herbalife was the first sponsor of Saina Nehwal during her initial days and got on board in the year 2009 and has been encouraging her since then. During her initial training days, Saina reflects that there was paucity of money and it was during this time, that Herbalife recognised the young talent and eased her out of the challenging situation. From then on, she continued her time in badminton training and went on to become the first Indian to win a BWF Super Series title that year. “Education is must for making you on par with other members in our society. Give girl children encouragement, for they can fly like birds in all aspects of life: like education and sports. Young girls are completely on par with boys in all aspects of life, girls if persuaded by parents can fight against all odds, only thing is encouragement”, says Saina. She is currently World No.5 and thanks Herbalife for playing a key role in encouraging her achievements in Sports.
When you educate a girl child, you educate a nation and Heena Sidhu is a living testament to the popular belief being a very bright academic student with a degree in dentistry. She is an Olympian, Commonwealth and National Champion in shooting and also the best example of how a shooting sport can help one in academics. Heena Sidhu along with her spouse have started Ronak Pandit Shooting Centre where the training programs are designed by the couple to help popularize the sport and are training a few girls to try their hand at the sport and preparing them for future sporting events.
On this occasion, and from my experience I can say that the biggest weapon a girl can have in today’s time is Education. Education helps her understand her Rights and the Freedom she is entitled to, being a human being and being a citizen of a democratic nation. A girl can demand her Rights when she knows what she is entitled to and education gives her that knowledge. I strongly believe in the fact that an educated woman means an educated family and better next generation. I am a qualified dentist but a professional shooter. Even though I do not practise Dentistry, I am what I am today because of my education.
When I was growing up, my parents never stopped me from trying anything new, and in that trial and error I ended up being a shooter. Shooting was just a hobby which turned into a profession for me. What if my parents were against shooting because “Girl should not play with guns” or what if my husband instead of being my coach and mentor was of the opinion that I should “take care of the house because now you are married.” Today people see me as a renowned shooter because of the support I got from my loved ones.
We need to let every child, be it a girl or a boy, fly with their wings and run after their dreams not the dreams that society decides for them.
“Remember nobody can make you feel inferior without our consent.” So never believe in people who put you down.
While Herbalife Sponsored athletes have truly made efforts in turn to embark on Herbalife’s philosophy of “Changing People’s Lives” and will continue their honorable work, Herbalife reiterates on this occasion to Stand up for girls’ rights and support Girls’ Progress = Goal’s Progress this International Day of the Girl.