The “girl effect”

My friend just emailed me this link about the “girl effect“. It’s an extremely well done video showing the two paths girls in developing countries can end up going down. The one path is the depressing one we think about: poverty, early pregnancy, illiteracy, illness, maybe even AIDS. The other one is the hopeful one: staying in school, getting a loan, running a business, gaining self-respect in the community, and being healthy.

When one thinks about the challenges girls face in developing countries, it’s not even clear where to begin. There are just so many problems. But when I watched this clip- I surprisingly had this feeling of hope. This notion that even a small change early on in a girl’s life- like keeping her in school one more year, giving her that chance at being a business owner- can havehanitra.JPG this snowball effect that results in even larger positive changes later in her life.

This makes me think, as always, of my little Hanitra- the little girl I came to adore in Madagascar. Paul and I always have this nagging feeling of what might happen to her: when will she drop out of school? will she get pregnant at a young age? This dread that we have makes us feel completely impotent at being able to avert any of this. So we don’t do much- because the challenges seem so great. But maybe what this video is meant to say is, that even the small efforts, like making her feel loved, helping her stay clean, encouraging her to stay in school- can really make that difference.