Blog Archive

Female Genital Mutilation is a huge Issue

When Pion was 10 years old, her grandmother said it was time for her to get married and become a “real” woman. Pion was terrified; she knew what that meant – having her genitalia cut, a practice called female genital mutilation (FGM). In the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania where she lives, she had seen many girls cut and forced to marry. Her older sister was cut when she was 10 and made to marry a much older man a month later. Pion didn’t want to be cut or get married so fast, and was determined to stay in school.

Child Marriage

Human Rights Watch interviewed a girl named Sharon who is a victim of a practice I have spoken about before called Forced Child Marriage. Sharon J.’s marriage at age 14 in Tanzania ended her hopes for the future: “My dream was to study to be a journalist. Until today, when I watch news or listen to the radio and someone is reading news, it causes me a lot of pain because I wish it were me.” she said. Around the world, marriage is often idealized as ushering in love, happiness, and security some of the best things in a girls life.

Child Marriage in Africa

African governments should coordinate action to improve laws, education, health care, and public awareness to end child marriage. Forty percent of girls in sub-Saharan Africa marry before age 18, and African countries account for 15 of the 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage. Child marriage has dire lifelong consequences, often severely reducing a girl’s ability to realize a wide range of human rights. Marrying early often ends a girl’s education, exposes her to domestic and sexual violence, increases serious health risks and death from early childbearing and HIV.

Tobacco Farms are Still An Issue

The United States government and tobacco companies are failing to protect teenage children from hazardous work in tobacco farming. Teenage children too young to legally buy a pack of cigarettes are getting exposed to nicotine while they work on US tobacco farms. Tobacco farming in the US puts children at risk of nicotine poisoning, pesticide exposure from toxic chemicals applied to the crop, heat illness, and chronic pain and injuries from performing repetitive motions.

Worldwide Children Are Not Getting Educated

Have you ever heard children telling you they want their education to stop when they reach the end of primary school? Many organizations have interviewed scores of children from all countries and they've never seen that they've said that. But unfortunately sometimes kids are forced out of school after primary school. For many of these children, having their education stopped short at the end of primary school was tragic. For some, external factors such as violence or discrimination forced them to drop out.

Children Forced to Shoot In Sudan

It was the middle of class when armed men burst into a school one morning in December 2013 in the town of Rubkona, in South Sudan’s Unity State. Pointing their weapons at bewildered pupils, the men forced scores of teenage boys to climb into military trucks that had pulled up outside. Across town, in another Rubkona school, similar scenes were unfolding. There was no time for the boys to object, or to say goodbye to their families. Then, as suddenly as they’d arrived, the trucks tore away, carrying inside them hundreds of boys ages 14 to 17.

China's Disability Education Solution

A new report from China’s education ministry says the government has achieved its goal to build one special education school for every 300,000 people across the country. Beijing has spent US $836 million on “the largest special education school construction project since the founding” of the People’s Republic of China by building and expanding more than 1,000 such schools. It also claims that in these schools, there are increasing numbers of teachers trained to work with children with disabilities and that the student-teacher ratios are improving. But is this really a good thing?

Slovenia's Same Sex Marriage Law

In March, Slovenia’s Parliament amended the Marriage and Family Relations Act to open marriage to same-sex couples. But after the amendment passed, opponents collected over 80,000 signatures to force a referendum on the law. On December 20th, the government announced that voters had rejected the marriage equality law by a 63% to 37% margin. Slovenia will now revert to its previous system, which permits same-sex couples to have civil partnerships but bars them from marriage or adoption – a system which is plainly discriminatory.

Being Bullied Due to Sexuality

In an article I read this week, a 20 year old #@$%anese woman spoke about her life. She talked about being accused of not being “girly enough,” and how she was frequently swarmed by students and beaten with a roll of paper. Her teachers witnessed the abuse again and again but did nothing. She begged her junior high classmates for help -- but they told her to endure the abuse, that high school would be easier. She said that this was too commonly the case in #@$%an, as is the case in many places around the world.

What does it mean to be Transgender

"Transgender" is not rocket science. The concept is actually quite simple: we are all assigned a sex or gender at birth, usually when a doctor or parent looks at our genitals and declares us "boy" or "girl." As we grow and our bodies, minds, and personalities develop, we may identify in ways that do not match our assigned sex. This has always been seen in the world as a strange thing or something negative. That affects lives of people who have felt this way.