President of the Vietnam Women’s Union, Mme. Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa becomes the Ambassador of the “Because I am a girl” campaign

In the morning of October 11th, 2012, Plan International in Vietnam launched the ceremony of the “Because I am a girl” campaign in Hanoi.

This year marks the first time that Plan International organized the “Because I am a girl” campaign in 70 countries around the world o­n the International Day of the Girl (October 11th) - a day that the General Assembly of the United Nations passed in 2011.

The “Because I am a girl” campaign in Vietnam aims to support vulnerable children in Vietnam, especially ethnic minority children in remote areas. The program has been organized across communities in Northern and Central Vietnam, specifically in Ha Giang, Quang Binh, and Quang Tri provinces. Girls living in poverty in these areas are supported in education, learning skills to change their lives and enhance gender equality, to help them gain success and reach their own dreams.

Attending the event as Ambassador of the "Because I am a girl" campaign in Vietnam, Vietnam Women's Union President, Mme. Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa, delivered a speech addressing the circumstances faced by girls in Vietnam. Mme Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa highlighted that inequality between boys and girls has been improved in urban areas. However, in rural and remote communities, girls continue to be disadvantaged by gender stereotypes and family economic difficulties. In addition, girls are facing social problems such as child marriage, trafficking, dropping out of school, etc. With the function of protecting the legitimate rights and interests of women and children, with a particular emphasis o­n girls, the VWU has implemented many activities to support children and families, such as the development of the Law o­n Gender Equality, the campaign to build a family of "5 without-s and 3 clean-s*", the Project o­n "Educating 5 million mothers for good parenting”, ect.

On behalf of the Vietnam Women’s Union, President Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa committed to enhance communication to all levels of the Women’s Union to respond to this campaign. Thereby, the Women’s Union at all levels will cary out activities to ensure that girls enjoy the same rights as boys. The President also called for the contribution of all agencies, organizations, associations, and individuals inside and outside of the country, as well as Vietnamese families, to support girls and raise awareness in their communities so that girls have the opportunities to study, play, and have equal rights with boys.

At the ceremony, the editor of Times Newspaper gave a bike to Ho Thi Hue (Dakrong district, Quang Tri province) and o­ne million Vietnam Dong to Ho Thi Lia (Lung Cu, Meo Vac,Ha Giang). The gifts are very meaningful for these two girls. Hue comes from a very poor family with 8 brothers and sisters, and her parents are ill very often. Everyday Hue has to get up at 5 am to row their boat for money to support her family. At 6.30 am she goes to school. Her life is very difficult. Lia is a teenage girl but she is already the mother of a 2 year old baby. Her husband died so she had to return to her poor household and live with her parents. Since Hue and Lia participate in the “Because I’m a girl” program, they are very happy to receive emotional and material supports. They can return to school, continue to take care of their families, as well as pursue their dreams.

According to Plan International, approximately 1 in 3 girls worldwide do not enjoy the benefits of an education due to poverty, violence, discrimination, and other harmful actions. These girls miss the opportunity to study despite having the capacity to change their lives and the world around them. Girls have fewer opportunities to go to school than boys. Girls represent the majority of the 67 million children worldwide that do not attend school. These children are placed at a higher risk to become the victims of abuse, sex trafficking, and labor exploitation. Mr. Glenn Gibney, director of Plan International in Vietnam confirmed: "Investing in girls is investing for the future. The campaign will be held for five years with the aim of supporting girls' education, providing basic skills to help them change their own lives, promote gender equality, to help them become powerful women, good mothers, good labors or leaders ".

(*) 5 Without-s: Without poverty, law violation and social evils, domestic violence, giving birth to the third child or more, having malnourished and school drop-out children; 3 Clean-s: Clean house, kitchen and surrounding lanes.

(VWU International Relations Department)