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CARE Canada President and CEO on #TogetherForHerFuture campaign

By Mara O'Brien James, President and CEO (Interim), CARE Canada

This fall, as my daughter returned to her school routine, I was struck by what a powerful young woman she has already become. Where once I held her little hand in mine, ensuring she didn't fall, she now walks tall alongside or even ahead of me. Whether it's at a women's march or a climate rally or just around the corner, she is now the one who looks out for others as she makes her way through the world. As a mother, I'm immensely proud of the person she has become. As a woman, I am grateful to be joined by yet another ally for equality.

For me, this ripple effect is a fitting reminder of the importance of October 11, the International Day of the Girl.

For every young girl who is empowered to live the life she chooses, there are so many others around the world who have yet to achieve their rights. We know that conflict, violence and inequality isolates girls from the things they need most.  That's why this International Day of the Girl, CARE is bringing people together to fight for the future of girls around the world.

Since 2011, Syria's civil war has forced more than 13 million people to flee their homes. Syrian girls may become separated from their families as they search for safety. And without a family and community to support them, many girls are forced to look for work to care for themselves and their siblings, instead of going to school. Their mothers are often called upon to support their families despite low acceptance for women who work or run a business.

When CARE Canada Ambassador Annie Murphy traveled to Jordan with her mother, they met many girls and women whose stories of survival were both unimaginable and inspiring: Asma, a Syrian refugee who is also the first girl to ride a bike in the Azraq refugee camp; Nora, a Syrian refugee who volunteers with a CARE Women's Leadership Council to help girls achieve their rights; and Nada, a teen in Amman who volunteers her time to help support CARE's Safe Spaces program for children. All of these girls are fighting for a better future for themselves and their communities, but they can’t do it alone.

This week, I hope you’ll join Annie and CARE in taking action to empower girls around the world. With your support, we can operate safe spaces for women and girls, can help girls get back to school and can work with communities to unleash waves of change that will continue to grow for generations to come.