Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

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International Day of the Girl Child is held annually on 11 October. Established by the United Nations (UN), this day is an opportunity to bring greater awareness to the particular challenges facing girls, particularly those living in poverty.

It is also a chance to celebrate girls’ achievements, promote empowerment, and advocate for the fulfilment of human rights for girls around the globe. 

In celebration of International Day of the Girl Child, we’re taking a moment to pause and reflect on what the day means, and how you can mark the occasion yourself. 

What is the origin of International Day of the Girl Child?

Twenty-five years ago, the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women was held, More than 30,000 people from 200 countries gathered in Beijing to recognise the human rights of women and girls.

This conference led to the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action which is the most comprehensive policy agenda for the empowerment of women. It was the first UN declaration that was specifically for girls and women’s rights. 

On 19 December 2011 the UN adopted Resolution 66/170 which declared 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child. It was decided this day would be used to bring awareness to issues faced by girls around the world, including: 

  • access to education;
  • child marriage;
  • gender-based violence; and
  • sexual and reproductive rights. 

Each year a different theme is attached to the day, to keep the occasion current with contemporary priorities, and the pressing issues faced by women and girls.

What is the theme of International Day of the Girl Child in 2021?

Two sisters hug out the front of their home in Cambodia

This year’s theme is “Digital generation. Our generation.” Throughout the global pandemic, the need for digital platforms for earning, learning and connecting, however, for some 2.2 billion younger than 25, they still do not have internet access at home.

According to UNICEF, girls are more likely to be disconnected, with the gender gap for global internet users growing from 11 percent in 2013 to 17 percent in 2019. This is starkly contrasted in the world’s least developed countries where it sits around 43 percent.

How you can get involved with International Day of the Girl Child activities

You can get involved with International Day of the Girl Child by spreading awareness about the challenges facing girls around the globe, or by donating to a cause that implements programs to improve the lives of girls. 

Spreading awareness and educating people around you is an important role you can play. You can do this by sharing information on your social media or start a conversation with colleagues, friends or family. 

Another way you can get involved is by donating money to charities helping girls and young women in developing countries. One of the biggest challenges girls face is access to education. 

At ChildFund, our work in education is focused on ensuring that girls have equal access to school and learning opportunities. This includes offering girls in South East Asia school scholarships, which cover tuition costs and provides girls with the supplies resources they need to stay in school. 

If you’d like to show your support for girls on International Day of the Girl Child, consider donating one of our scholarships to a young girl. 

You might also like to get a group together at work to contribute, as part of a workplace giving or corporate social responsibility program.

An equal future: supporting the rights of girls everywhere

At ChildFund, we don’t believe that girls’ futures are set in stone at birth. Every girl should have the right to choose their own path, access education and live life on their own terms. 

Together, let’s empower girls and young women with the opportunities they need to succeed. If you would like to help girls in developing countries you can purchase a scholarship for a girl as a one-off donation or sponsor a girl monthly to provide life-changing support. 

The Include a Charity campaign, which is supported by dozens of not-for-profit organisations, aims to encourage more people to leave a charitable gift in their Will, and increase the positive impact we can make as individuals on society.

Research conducted by the Fundraising Institute of Australia shows that the number of Australians leaving gifts in their Wills increased from 7.9 per cent in 2016 to 11 per cent in 2019. To build on this progress, every year the campaign provides important information and guidance on how to leave a lasting legacy during Include a Charity Week (6 – 12 September). 

Read on to learn why gifts in Wills matter for charitable organisations, and the positive impact you can make for future generations.

What is Include a Charity Week?

Include a Charity Week is an annual social change campaign, initiated by the Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA). The aim of the annual observance is to encourage more Australians to leave a gift in their Will to a charity of their choice, increasing the funds invested in Australia’s non-profit sector, and the impact member organisations can make. 

The campaign relies entirely on the involvement of its charity members, which run their own awareness activities leading up to and during Include a Charity Week. Together, Include a Charity members use this opportunity to raise public awareness of gifts in Wills, and the important difference a legacy can make.

What is a charitable gift left in your Will?

A gift left to a charity in your will is simply that, a gift to your chosen charitable organisation. It is a dollar amount of your choice, bequeathed to a charity whose work you admire. 

You don’t need to be wealthy to leave a gift in your Will. A donation of any amount supports the work of the beneficiary organisation into the future.

What does it mean to leave a donation to charity as a gift in your Will?

It’s time to change the way we think about Will-making. Your Will is your legacy. Of course, every Australian wants to ensure that their loved ones are taken care of, but after you’ve provided for your family and friends you have the opportunity to make a lasting difference in the world

Think about the world you’ve lived in, and how you’d like the world to be in the future. A gift to a charity in your Will is an opportunity to express your wishes for that future, and to support organisations who are working towards realising that dream. 

Did you know that much of charities’ vital income comes from those who leave a charitable gift in their Will? Your legacy contributes towards a reliable and sustainable source of income, which enables organisations like ChildFund Australia to continue its vital work.

How can you support a cause or charity you care about during Include a Charity Week?

We are asking all Australians to take the time to consider leaving a gift in their Will, of any size, to a charity that supports a cause they care about. 

This week is a timely opportunity to start the conversation, do some research, and carefully consider the legacy you’d like to leave for future generations. 

This year, you can take a quiz to find out what type of legend you are. Take the quiz here. And if you are considering leaving a gift to ChildFund Australia, learn more about naming us as a beneficiary and get in touch with Martin Shields, ChildFund Australia Bequest Executive.