Roughly one year ago I was seated inside a three-story building in the heart of one of Delhi’s many slums, on the floor of an all girls school, one of the first in the slums that focused on helping girls who have been sexually abused, to emotionally heal and go to school. As a mother and a global advocate, the scene inside the school was heartbreaking. For these girls were the same age as my own daughter yet had already seen more hardship than imaginable. Yet somehow these girls had one common dream: The dream of an education and lifting themselves out of the poverty and daily struggles of life inside a slum.
My experience in India reminded me of the uttermost importance of education especially for girls. The statistics around the world are dire yet also full of hope and opportunity for the future. More than 57 million children worldwide are denied the basic right to go to school (33 million of which are girls) and Nigeria where girls have recently been violently kidnapped from school, is home to the most out of school children in the world.
What is even more shocking is that 250 million girls and boys – nearly 40% of the world’s children of primary school age – can’t even read a single sentence.
This is a tragedy but there is hope. World leaders will be convening this June to discuss the replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education, a international fund that has already helped support quality education for 22 million children in some of the world’s most challenging environments.