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Schoolgirls on hunger strike to fight sexual harassment

A BBC report shows teens taking control of future

HARYANA, India — Thirteen girls in the northern Indian state of Haryana have had enough of dealing with daily sexual harassment, so they’ve been protesting with a hunger strike for six days, reports BBC News online.

The teens, between the ages of 16 and 18, say men often make sexual remarks or worse as they travel to school. “Should we stop studying? Should we stop dreaming?,” Sheetal, one of the students asked the BBC.

Officials and government representatives have promised to provide better security and open a school closer to the student’s home, but the girls are waiting to see the promises in writing before they end their strike. [bbc.com]

Meanwhile, yesterday, Amina Mohammed, the United Nations’ deputy secretary general, voiced her concern about violence in areas of conflict, another area of concern rooted in social norms. “All our words, and laws, and resolutions, will mean absolutely nothing if violations go unpunished in practice, and if we fail in our sacred duty of care to survivors,” she told the Security Council. “In word and deed, let us commit to stand in solidarity with survivors and vulnerable communities, and replace horror with hope.”

At Christian Children’s Fund of Canada, we believe children have the right to an education. We empower them to learn their rights, so they can reach their full potential.

Update: The hunger strike ended May 17, when the government agreed in writing to add two grades to the local school so girls in Grade 9 and 10 don't have to travel far to school.

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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a child-centred international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For more than 55 years, CCFC has worked with children, communities, donors and other partners — changing lives through improved health, education and clean water. CCFC works in 12 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas, to support more than 700,000 children, youth and community members.