Green: Today, is International Day of the Girl, so, I want take a moment to reaffirm the role that girls play in our effort to end the need for foreign assistance. No country can succeed if it excludes the voices and talents of half its population. From our advancement of entrepreneurship and innovation, to our programs promoting peace and reconciliation, we want to make this a safer, more prosperous world, in order to get there we need the partnership and leadership of women and girls I believe the most powerful way to change a mind is through a story. So, this International Day of the Girl, we are inviting you to join us as we share stories of empowered girls who are changing the world just use the hashtag GirlsShine Share your story and help us as we demonstrate the impact that women and girls can make. On this International Day of the Girl, it’s my pleasure to introduce Michelle Bekkering who serves as USAID’s new Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. Michelle will be leading the Agency’s efforts to accelerate equal opportunity for girls everywhere and she has a special message for you.
Bekkering: I want to reaffirm USAID's commitment to empowering girls around the world. A girl’s future should be defined not by her sex, but by her commitment to hard work and ability to access the resources she needs to succeed. At USAID, we’re working to break down the barriers that keep girls from learning and leading. We want every girl to go to school, live in a home and community free from violence, and receive the care she needs to grow healthy and strong. One of my favorite stories is of 12-year-old Aisyah. Aisyah lives in a small farming town in Indonesia. When her school, a USAID program partner, developed a small library in her classroom, Aisyah discovered her love for reading. In just her first semester of sixth grade, she read over 115 storybooks! But what really makes Aisyah proud is that she then taught her mom to read and she is helping to nurture a love of learning throughout her community. In honor of International Day of the Girl, we are inviting you To share stories of empowered girls using the hashtag GirlsShine. The world is brighter when girls, like Aisyah, share their spark!