Celebrating the International Day of the Girl

October 11th is the first-ever International Day of the Girl Child –  a day dedicated to recognizing girls’ rights and advancing their lives and access to opportunities.

In honor of this day, I encourage you to participate in your own way. Educate yourself about girls’ issues. (I highly recommend the powerful book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, written by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.) Support a nonprofit organization of your choosing. Visit the Participate tab for more ways to get involved, or search GuideStar – a directory of charities and nonprofits.

International Day of the Girl Child
International Day of the Girl Child

To inspire you, I’ve included a collage of pictures of girls and young women that I have met during my travels from Cambodia to South Africa.

International Day of the Girl Child
South Africa

“The world is not interested in what we do for a living. What they are interested in is what we have to offer freely – hope, strength, love and the power to make a difference!” 

Sasha Azevedo
International Day of the Girl Child

“How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.”

Anne Frank
International Day of the Girl Child

“We must become the change we want to see in the world.”

International Day of the Girl Child

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refused to do something that I can do.”

Helen Keller
International Day of the Girl Child

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”

Margaret Mead
International Day of the Girl Child

“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Robert F. Kennedy
International Day of the Girl Child

“Go out into the world and do good until there is too much good in the world.”

Larry H. Miller
International Day of the Girl Child

“To him who is determined it remains only to act.”

Italian Proverb
International Day of the Girl Child

“We have it in our power to change the world over.”

Thomas Paine
International Day of the Girl Child

“I feel that the greatest reward for doing is the opportunity to do more.”

Dr. Jonas Salk
International Day of the Girl Child

“Your thoughts, words and deeds are painting the world around you.”

Jewel Diamond Taylor
International Day of the Girl Child

“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can.”

Sydney Smith
International Day of the Girl Child

“We can do no great things – only small things with great love.”

Mother Teresa
International Day of the Girl Child
South Africa

“The mind has exactly the same power as the hands: not merely to grasp the world, but to change it.”

Colin Wilson
International Day of the Girl Child

“If it is up to be, it is up to me.”

International Day of the Girl Child

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson
International Day of the Girl Child

“Since you get more joy out of giving to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

What girls or young women have inspired you close to your home or during your travels? Please also share your ideas for making the world a better place!

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

47 thoughts on “Celebrating the International Day of the Girl

    1. Suzanne & Pierre, mille fois merci for your kind comment. I’m very fortunate to have seen so many corners of the world, and think it’s only fitting that I help to spread the word about causes that deserve our attention. Bonne journée!

    1. Carole, how flattering to learn that you took away some knowledge as a result of this post. :) This past spring, I learned a great deal from reading the book I recommended above, Half the Sky. I found that the book’s accounts got me really fired up to help. Thank you so much for taking time to share how the post affected you. Wishing you a pleasant coming weekend too.

  1. Beautiful tribute to girls the world over. We have a long way to go in improving health, education and welfare of women throughout the world. I wonder how many countries will fulfill their United Nation’s Millennium Goals? These are beautiful and inspiring pictures, Tricia.

    1. An important question, Lynne. Let’s hope that such commemorative days will help raise awareness and apply pressure on governments throughout the world. I’m so happy to hear you found the photographs inspiring; thank you.

    1. Antoinette, I’ve just also recently learned of this new day. Having been inspired by the special young women I’ve met around the world and the book, Half the Sky, I was pleased to put this post together. On a side note, when do you leave for your travels? I’m off to explore your site now, but wanted to say thank you for your generous comment. :)

    1. It makes my day to hear that the post was a success, Virginia.Here’s hoping that it will be a source of inspiration for those who might not have had the great fortune to interact with such wonderful young women.

  2. This is so beautiful. Gorgeous images from around the world and very carefully chosen quotations. Inspirational. In answer to your question, I suppose in recent years my focus has been in trying to raise my own girl to be a strong, independent woman who is, above all else, kind. That is my main message to her, always to be kind. I often tell her that if everyone was kind the world would be improved beyond measure.

    1. Rachael, thank you for your very kind words. I hope that others will draw inspiration not only from the reblog, but also from the words of wisdom you’ve shared here regarding how you’re raising your daughter. Your last line is particularly heartwarming and poignant. Thank you again.

  3. Reblogged this on Focused Moments and commented:
    I don’t often reblog but every now and then I feel compelled to share a special post by a fellow blogger. Please enjoy this beautiful and inspirational post from Tricia. Normal service resumes tomorrow. Rachael

  4. Your photos are lovely. I especially like the one of the school girl in Cambodia. The light and shade is so evocative. It’s very gratifying to be the mother of two beautiful daughters who are leading fulfilling, happy lives and doing what they love. I wish every girl had these opportunities.

    1. Eternal Traveller, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I believe that all girls can have the opportunities that your daughters have had (how lucky they are!). It just takes heightened awareness of the many struggles that girls around the world face.

      I also thought the lighting was special in the shot of the Cambodian school girl; thank you for mentioning it. We had the chance to visit two classrooms while in Cambodia back in December (high school and college) and were so inspired by the male and female students’ desire to learn. Access to quality education is really the key!

    1. Gunta, I’m so happy that you found my blog via the very creative and talented Rachael.

      Thank you for taking the time to leave such kind feedback; I hope this post will prove inspirational for you.

  5. High time there is a day dedicated to the girl child…back in Southern India, doctors are legally forbidden from revealing the unborn child’s gender coz female foeticide was a huge issue among the rich and poor alike!!

    1. Peri, I wish the world was filled with more passionate people like you! I had read that this was the case in India. Would you say that the situation is improving at all?

      On a side note, my husband and I spent one wonderful month in India earlier this year. I’m so pleased to have found your website, packed with culinary inspiration from India. Thank you for sharing the wonderful recipes, as well as your comment about my post’s issue.

      1. Hi Tricia, just found I’d missed this comment thread…haven’t been back to South India for almost 7 years, but I hear the stronger set of rules on the medical practitioners are certainly helping to control the matter.

        Wow, so happy you managed to visit and spend time in India. Good or not, I know my native country makes an impression on all who visit…ha ha.. All your senses are alive when visiting India!

  6. Oh, the faces, the smiles (I’m sure the little one in Spain has a smile in there…) – thank you for this, Tricia. This hits home for me, and I think the message is terribly important in our country, but realize it’s probably even more important in other parts of the world – those you’ve highlighted here, for instance.

    I once read that we tend to fawn over little girls’ beauty, and that we should maybe rethink that. Instead of saying,”What a pretty girl you are,” we might say,”What’s your favorite book?” or something similar, something more intellect-centered. I’ve since tried to engage the girls at our school in just such a manner. (Although I still can’t help myself and let the occasional fawning out!)

    Aaaand you’ve inspired me to really get on writing a post that’s been rattling around in my head for a while – the result of a conversation I recently had with an older woman of African descent. I hope I can make it worthy of her and what she faced when younger.

    1. There’s no better comment I can hear than that a post I’ve created has inspired someone to make a difference, in your case, write a motivational profile. I shall look forward to reading it!

      You mentioned the sort of intellect-centered questions one can ask girls… Your comment reminded me of an article I recently saw, via Twitter, about building confidence in girls. Thought you might enjoy it: http://www.pbs.org/parents/experts/archive/2012/10/building-confidence-in-girls.html

      Thank you, Sid & have a marvelous weekend!

      1. Thanks for that, Tricia – I did enjoy it. It seems wherever I heard/saw that advice is one of many with that train of thought. (Our weekend’s been marvelous. :) )

    1. Thank you, Judy. I’m fortunate to have met such wonderful locals – of all ages – while on the road.

      On a side note, I’m pleased to have stumbled upon your blog – so many culinary treats there!

  7. Such wonderful portraits of the girl child Tricia!
    We still battle discrimination, although I am proud to say I come from one of the few regions in India – apart from Kerala and Nagaland – where daughters are prized!! We follow the matriarchal system of inheritance where property is traditionally passed down from mother to daughter!

    1. Madhu, that’s quite an interesting custom and I’m curious to learn more. Which region do you come from?

      Welcome back home, by the way! You jet-set so much, I’m not certain if you’ve just returned from Petra, or another spot. :)

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