On Monday, twenty-eight Rhoades middle school students met with students in Bangladesh over Zoom. The Girl Rising Club partners with a non-profit organization called Speak Up for the Poor that provides education opportunities for hundreds of girls in Bangladesh. Some of these high school girls live together in a dormitory, where they can safely pursue their education and not be forced into childhood marriages. Close to 20 girls crowded into the director’s office, to see and speak with Rhoades students who Zoomed in from their home. It was 6pm our time and early morning in Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi girls shared about their dreams, hobbies, typical school day, and what life would be like for them if they were not in school. Rhoades students asked some insightful questions and were invited to share their dreams with the girls in Bangladesh. Below are student reflections on the Zoom:
Sebastian, in 6th grade, had this to say about the discussion: “I feel child marriage can be solved by changing society’s point of view on girls in Bangladesh. And, I think these girls understand that too because of the dreams they shared of wanting to become doctors, nurses and teachers. These jobs are VITAL to human society, and when people can say ‘hey, a girl just saved my life’ that can help end discrimination and childhood marriage. These girls still need help though and Speak Up for the Poor is a great cause.”
Truman, in 7th grade, reflected, “I found it interesting how these girls live in dorms, without their families. I saw how much more I have in comparison to them, which made me grateful for all that I have. It also showed that there is hope for these girls and they can go to school and have a good job without being forced into child marriage.”
Genevieve, in 6th grade, commented, “The girls seemed very grateful that they got the opportunity to study and get a good education. It is so inspiring to see how they work so hard to make their dreams come true.”
Audrey, in 8th grade, shared, “What struck me most was how similar those girls are to me. When I saw them laughing with each other, it reminded me of myself and my friends, and how these girls deserve to be given the same opportunities for their education as I do. Women are capable of so much more than marriage and caring for a family, and a proper education can help anyone reach their full potential. I’m so glad that our school is supporting an important organization like this one, and I hope that we can continue to do so in the future.”
And, Ava, in 7th grade, wrote, “Meeting these girls in Bangladesh, and learning about their dreams and wishes for the future, was really eye opening and heart warming. We really do need more girls in the world with such bright minds and joyous personalities like these amazing young women. I am so thankful to have had an opportunity to meet them.
The Zoom was full of laughs, smiles, and appreciation among young people on opposite sides of the world. To learn more about Girl Rising and Speak Up for the Poor, visit https://agirlrisingclub.weebly.com and https://www.speakupforthepoor.org.