My name is Fatuma Omar Ismail and I started this petition for the millions of girls like me living in crises around the world. Together we can help put an end to the cycle of extreme poverty, violence and exploitation by speaking up for every girl, everywhere to ensure they have access to a quality education and an opportunity to reach their own potential.
At a young age, my family and I fled from Somalia to escape civil war, and I spent much of my childhood and adolescent life in the world’s largest refugee camp in Kenya. Life in the camp almost broke me, but being able to go to school gave me hope for a better future. Although I struggled to find time for my studies, I was a dedicated student and earned a scholarship to one of Kenya’s top secondary schools. Today, I study Health Science at the University of Toronto, while also supporting my family who still live in the camp.
I was one of the lucky ones, I got a chance at a better life. Education has saved my life.
But what about the 75 million young people living through conflicts and disasters who are out of school? When these crises erupt, education is one of the first services suspended, and last to be resumed. Girls in crises are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys, making them more vulnerable to violence, discrimination and exploitation.
Canada has an opportunity to lead change. This Summer, Canada is hosting the G7 Summit and will welcome world leaders to discuss critical issues facing the world. This is our chance to champion the education of girls in crises on the global stage. As this year’s G7 President, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is encouraging Canadians to help shape Canadian G7 leadership.
So, let’s tell him what we think!
A Canadian-led G7 Declaration to Educate Girls in Crises could change the course for millions of girls currently out of school because of conflict and crises. Empowering women starts early by educating and empowering girls.