Stand up for girls: their rights and their future are under threat!

The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging millions of people around the world. The reality is that millions of girls are battling two pandemics: COVID-19, like so many of us, but also the several threat to their lives and human rights.

The UN is reporting a 'horrifying global surge' in domestic violence towards women and girls, linked to COVID-19 lockdowns. The pandemic is increasing poverty, forcing girls out of school and into work or marriage. The virus has put 2.5 million more girls at risk of early marriage by 2025, according to report from Save the Children released October 1.

In the 12 months before the outbreak, 243 million women and girls (aged 15-49) around the world were subjected to sexual or physical violence. That is more than 6 times the entire population of Canada! Many Crossroads partners in Africa are reporting increased incidence of violence and abuse of girls.

One local partners has reported the highest incidences of teenage pregnancies. In one school there were 30 girls reported to be pregnant. This is why Crossroads launched the I'm Too Young campaign. The goal is to mobilize support to end child marriage, female genital mutilation and the sexual abuse of girls.

Around 130 million girls between the age of 6 and 17 are out of school, including 15 million girls of primary-school age. Half of them are in sub-Saharan Africa. Every day, around the world, young girls' rights to choose who they want to be, who and when they want to marry, to make the decisions that affect their bodies, their minds and their future, is threatened by cultural, traditional and political norms and laws. We are working with civil society organizations, parents, community leaders and girls and boys to challenge this practice and its impact on the future of thousands of the girls in the countries we operate.

Girls are facing even more challenges preventing them from reaching their full potential. They need us now more than ever. Will you join Crossroads International and take action for girls' rights?
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