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International Day Of The Girl: 5 things you can do today to make life easier for girls in need.

Today, October 11, is International Day of the Girl.

People are thinking about the world we’ve created for the next generation of women, marvelling their achievements, imagining their future and pondering ways to foster their potential.

But what does it all mean, beyond the news stories, and hashtags, and symbolism? What does it mean for the everyday person, especially if they don’t have a girl in their life?

If all the girls in the world could read…

Video by Mamamia

Well, if you choose to lend your support to these organisations, it can mean a girl graduates from school, has basic sanitary supplies, stability, someone to lean on, that someone cares. It can mean the world.

Here are five practical things you can do, today, to make the world a better place for girls in need.

1. Share the dignity of sanitary items with vulnerable girls.

Period poverty isn’t something that only happens in developing nations.

Right here in Australia, there are girls using socks, newspaper or toilet paper as a substitute for the sanitary items they or their families simply can’t afford. Many skip school as a direct result. Some have even ended up in hospital, after leaving tampons in for days at a time, knowing it’s the last one they had left.

Every year, Share The Dignity collects thousands of sanitary products around Australia and distributes them to front-line services, including schools in poverty stricken areas, family crisis shelters and homelessness organisations.

To volunteer three hours a week to help with deliveries, or to donate, visit the Share the Dignity website.

2. Give $1 to fund a girl’s school day.

Educating women and girls is widely understood to be the most powerful and effective way to address global poverty. Women who finish secondary school earn more money, have smaller, healthier families, and are more likely to educate their own children — breaking the cycle of illiteracy within their family.

Yet women and girls represent two-thirds of the 750 million people around the world who are illiterate.

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That’s where organisation Room to Read comes in. It costs just $1 a day to provide girls with the support and guidance they need to succeed at school and beyond through their holistic program, which includes academic support, mentoring and life skills training – changing their lives, and the lives of future generations.

You can find out more and donate via the Room to Read website.

3. Volunteer to be a Big Sister.

Sister2Sister is a year-long mentoring program that teams women, called ‘Big Sisters’, with teenage girls at risk of abuse and neglect (i.e. ‘Little Sisters’).

Big Sisters act as a positive female role model to provide support, guidance and advice throughout the program.

Find out how to get involved via the Sister2Sister program via the Life Changing Experiences website.

4. Share your love of learning with a girl in foster care.

There are 50,000 children living in the Australian foster care system, a number that has more than doubled in the last ten years. Of those, 92 per cent are below the average reading level at age seven and 75 per cent do not finish school.

Organisation The Pyjama Foundation believes if we empower these children with education, then we can change the direction of their future.

It recruits, screens and trains volunteers from the local community to be a constant in these children’s often turbulent lives. These committed volunteers are matched with a child in the foster care system whom they visit in their foster homes once a week to share the love of learning.

The positive one-on-one mentoring program also has a strong emphasis on life skills.

For more information about becoming a Pyjama Angel, or to donate, visit The Pyjama Foundation website.

5. Support a student in a remote Aboriginal community.

The Cathy Freeman Foundation is boosting school attendance rates in some of Australia’s most remote Aboriginal communities, from early childhood education right through to Year 12.

As well as providing critical classroom resources, the foundation connects students with role models in their community and celebrates those with high attendance by providing access to extracurricular sport and recreational activities. It also offers the opportunity for select students to travel to a capital city for an invaluable personal-development and goal-setting program.

Its vision is simple: “An Australia where Indigenous and non-Indigenous children have the same education standards and opportunities in life”.

If you want to help them achieve that vision, you can find information about donating and fundraising on the Cathy Freeman Foundation website.

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