Photo by @maggiesteber | This is Philomene, a young girl I photographed in the dry northwest town of Beauchamp, Haiti many years ago. I’m posting her photograph to remember her and other young Haitian girls today on the International #DayoftheGirl. She was a student in a small local school. She told me she loved to read and that one day she hoped to be a nurse. I never saw her again after that visit but I think of her quite often because she so embodied the spirit and talent and the hopes and sense of possibility that all Haitians share and that is shared by young girls around the world. I hope she accomplished her dreams. Like many developing nations, the literacy rate in Haiti is low and below the average for Latin American and Caribbean countries. Haiti faces shortages in educational supplies and qualified teachers where the rural population is less educated than the urban. A major earthquake in 2010 exacerbated an already difficult system by destroying infrastructure and displacing 50 to 90% of of students. Private education, which must be paid for, has substituted for education in public schools although the government has attempted initiatives to change this. I tried very hard to help educate children in Haiti but the need was like a bottomless pit. In the world young women 15-29 are more than 3 times as likely as young men to not be in employment, education or training, according to UNICEF. Education can help change stereotypes we have held onto too long and take advantage of the talent and creative voices of girls to make a more vibrant and equitable world. There are many organisations, ranging from public to private, that support and promote the education of girls around the world. If you want to make the world a better place and safer for young women, please consider researching and supporting the education of girls and give them a voice. #dayofthegirl #tooyoungtowed #unicef #educategirls #haiti #education
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