In celebration of International Day of the Girl Child, held annually on October 11, local Girl Scouts joined 45 girls from Morocco and Liberia for an afternoon of conversation and cultural exchange. Girl Scout Ambassador Elizabeth W. shares her experience below.
“The air was full of excitement when everyone started filtering in. It was a brisk Columbus Day in DC on my third opportunity to attend an event between the Peace Corps and the Let Girls Learn Initiative. All I’ve been told is that I will be meeting with a delegation of girls from Morocco and Liberia. I immediately meet one girl who I later learn is named Zahra. She introduces me to some of her friends, girls from both Morocco and Liberia, who are studying to be doctors, educators, engineers, and businesswomen.
The first thing I learn: These girls are smart, dedicated, and driven.
Zahra and I sit and talk. We are playing “Around the World in 3 Minutes,” a game where we partner with a girl we don’t know, exchange basic information, and teach each other a tradition or custom from our country or family. I teach Zahra and several other girls how to make the Girl Scout sign with their hands. Zahra tells me that she wants to study American Sign Language for her Masters in DC. We’re both excited to learn that so many signs in American Sign Language are just like those in Moroccan Sign Language.
The second: “Salem” means “Hello” in Arabic.
As a group, Zahra and I join others to have meaningful conversations about what it means to be a girl in the world. Looking around at everybody else in the room, I already know that being a girl in my world is quite different from being a girl in Morocco or Liberia. We share stories with each other, and discuss why an education is the key that can open up every door in a girl’s universe, but why there are 64 million girls for whom school is a far-fetched dream.
The third: A reminder of what I have.
I hear about fathers who did everything in their power to stop their daughters from going to school past the fifth grade, and what it is like to be a blind girl trying to attend school in Morocco. But that is never the focus of the conversation. Instead I hear mostly about passions for improving villages, cities, infrastructure, government, medicine, public policy, and other girls’ lives.
The fourth: “I am so proud to be a girl child in the world” declares a girl from Liberia, and I am too. Because surrounding me are 100 girls who are going to change the world.”
~Girl Scout Ambassador Elizabeth W., Arlington, VA