After winning the AFAS Challenge, a prize of EUR 50,000 was awarded by the AFAS Foundation to cover the costs of the first year of education for the twenty selected girls from 6 April. Supported by at least eight Soroptimist clubs in the Netherlands, efforts being made by Soroptimists will finance the education of at least twenty girls from 2018, with hopes for this to continue into 2019.
Following the successful Soroptimist/Unicef project, Syria ‘Back to School’, a new approach and structure was established by the Board of the Union of Soroptimist clubs in the Netherlands, Suriname and Curacao, in order to support and encourage larger projects such as this one. One element of this is a steering group, which consists of between 3 – 5 members from supporting clubs.
Led by Bianca Leemkuil (SI Alphen aan Rijn) and Rita Harmsen (SI Waterland), Programme Director Olenka van Ardenne, explains: “This project is about the empowerment of women and girls in its most pure form: we do not only help freed individual girls and women, but we also contribute to the creation of concrete tools for awareness, and respect for the rights of women and girls through education, in order that women and girls might reach positions in which they can make a difference. We as the Board of the Union of Soroptimist clubs in the Netherlands, Suriname and Curacao, are proud to cooperate with the vital partner Free a Girl, who realise impressive results in the field of awareness and action for girls and women captured in prostitution. We do hope that other Soroptimist clubs shall support this project so that we can spread this concept throughout the world”.
Mallika Sherawat, actor and Ambassador says: “Underage girls forced into prostitution is a problem that we simply can’t ignore any longer. It’s the organised and systematic rape of young girls, happening on a mass scale, right here in Mumbai, Delhi and other cities in India. Girls, sometimes as young as 7 or 8, are forced into this life. By freeing the girls, we’re not changing the system that allows this crime to happen. To break this cycle, we will attack a key factor: the fact that the perpetrators are not being punished. Because they are not punished, they can continue with their crimes. I ask you to support the School for Justice to help the victims turn their anger at this injustice into a force for good – and a furious determination to put everyone involved in child prostitution behind bars.”
Find out more about the Free a Girl Movement here https://www.freeagirlmovement.org/
Find out more about the School for Justice here https://www.schoolforjustice.com/about
To find out more about the work of Soroptimists in the Netherlands please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
School for Justice email@example.com
To view the news story written by Soroptimist International of Europe please visit the SIE website at http://www.soroptimisteurope.org/dutch-soroptimists-contribute-to-educating-and-empowering-victims-of-child-prostitution-in-india/