I am Generation Equality because
I believe that girls have rights, and they can do great things.
In my community, girls are regarded as a source of wealth. Parents say, girls should only be married. With the dowry, they will prosper. This is not true. Girls have to be educated; they have rights. And their parents need to be educated so that they understand that girls have a right to education, to a bright future. They need to be in the big offices, not in kitchens.
Nyamam Gai Gatluak fled the conflict in South Sudan to the sprawling Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, home to more than 186,000 residents. Many of them have lived there for more than one generation.
“I want girls to know that they can do great things.”
Empowering girls to change the world
Nyamam is learning computer programming at the Angelina Jolie Primary School in Kakuma. It’s the only boarding school for girls in the camp, and the competition to get in is fierce. Having lived in conflict for much of their lives, studying in the boarding school gives the girls a chance to really focus on their education, and be girls.
“In this school, for the first time, I started using the internet. I learned about computer hardware and software.”
Nyamam knows many of the girls in the camp do not get this opportunity. “Those who make it to school, when they come home, they have to leave the books and go to the kitchen to cook and do chores, because the boys don’t do such work. So, the girls [in the camp] don’t get time to study. Being in a boarding school is a privilege.”
Nyamam loves coding. She has learned to design websites and computer games and she is determined to make a difference. She wants to create an app that teaches basic coding to girls in rural areas.
In Kakuma and across the world, girls and young women experience unequal access to education and skills development, particularly in the field of ICT. Nyamam and her peers have become vocal advocates for themselves and other girls.
“Not many girls and women are in this field. It’s dominated by men, but I want girls to know that they can do great things,” says Nyamam.
Photo credits (header image):
Nyamam Gai Gatluak stands outside of classrooms at the Angelina Jolie Primary School. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
Three actions you can take to be part of Generation Equality:
Educate girls and encourage them to join STEM fields
Raise awareness among refugee and displaced populations about girls’ rights
Join the conversation using #GenerationEquality