The Vancouver chapter of the 60 million girls Foundation has organized a Sunday afternoon talk with Stephanie Nolen, award-winning journalist and Latin American Bureau Chief for The Globe and Mail. Ms. Nolen will bring her unique perspective on international development issues, honed through many years of living and working in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She has reported from 60 countries around the world.
Throughout her career, Ms. Nolen has covered world-changing events, including the invasion of Afghanistan and the fall of the Taliban, as well as war and its devastating aftermath in multiple African countries. Ms. Nolen’s coverage of the AIDS epidemic in Africa bared not only the health issues, but also the social, economic and political consequences, while opening our Western eyes to this tragedy. As the South Asian Bureau Chief for The Globe and Mail, Ms. Nolen’s writings from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India provided the hard facts but gave us a very human perspective.
Ms. Nolen’s articles have highlighted the difficulties faced by school age girls in India and the pressures their families face to marry them off when they are in their early teens, despite the fact that the legal marriage age in India is 18. You can read here about Guriya, a 13-year-old girl in Bihar province in north-eastern India.
Ms. Nolen writes:
Sister Sudha and her remarkable schools have appeared in The Globe and Mail regularly over the past year and a half in Breaking Caste, a series highlighting the continued plight of young Dalits, the people once known as “untouchable.” The schools are for girls from the Mushahar community, the lowest of the Dalits, consigned to the bottom rung of the Hindu caste system, which remains rigidly in force in this marginalized corner of India.
A couple of semesters at Prerna can have a transformative effect – students are well fed for the first time, able to bathe each day, wear crisp new uniforms and, most important, have the scorn heaped upon their caste replaced with affection and respectful interest in their ideas. They bloom, these girls, transforming in a way that is a joy to behold.
Unless you are their parents. For them, it’s terrifying.
In this video, you can also listen to school girl Poonam talk about her desire to become a teacher. She wants her own daughters have the opportunity to go to school.
Stephanie Nolen’s skills have not gone unheralded. She is a seven-time National Newspaper Award winner and a four-time winner of the Amnesty International Award for Human Rights Reporting. Her book, 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa, was nominated for a Governor General’s Award and has been published in 15 countries. She has been the Dalton Camp lecturer and will give the Dal Grauer Memorial Lecture this year. As a summation of some of Ms. Nolen’s gifts, she received the Markwell Media Award for her “combination of creative brilliance, humanitarian compassion, personal courage, and the relentless pursuit of truth”.
We hope that you can join us on Sunday, November 9th, for tea, coffee and an interesting discussion. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit our website at www.60milliongirls.org.