Sponsor a girl with Plan UK

// 16 December 2008

Just came across this wonderful looking charity on The Guardian website. Plan UK is a child-centred community development organisation, currently raising awareness of the plight of girls worldwide:

Josepha, 17, from Haiti, says: “Our voices are never heard. All decisions are taken by men, and hardly involve women.”

Her words typify the experiences of girls who grow up in communities which don’t see the value of gender equality. The consequences are profound. Large numbers of girls are thrown into often abusive marriages at a very young age. They may be forced to abandon their education. They may end up in combat or be sold as child labour. Malnourishment and HIV are constant dangers.

Sexual assault is another menace for many young girls, with conflict exacerbating that particular threat. Christiana, from Sierra Leone, was abducted by rebels in 1998 when she was just 14. “One of the rebels raped me. After that I was used as a sex slave and held captive for three years. I became pregnant in 2002 and gave birth to a baby boy.”

These are just a handful of the challenges girls have to face around the world every day.

Plan UK develops various schemes to help girls and their communities deal with both day-to-day poverty and issues as wide ranging as FGM, forced marriage, HIV infection and a lack of education. They are currently looking for individuals and groups to join their existing one million sponsors and contribute to the growth and well being of girls in 49 countries worldwide. (Boys can also be sponsored, but the focus of The Guardian campaign is on girls, who suffer disproportionately due to their sex, as the above video shows).

You can find out more about sponsorship here, and request an information pack here. From what I’ve read, it appears that although you are assigned a particular child, with whom you are encouraged to make contact, your money is used for community projects which will benefit them rather than going to the child direct. Makes sense.

Comments From You

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 16 December 2008 at 11:32 pm

Excellent that the plight of girls simply because they happen to be born biologically female and hence seen by patriarchal societies as dispensible is being publicised.

Not only publicised but also positive action is being taken. Yes it makes sense for money to be used for community projects which will directly benefit girls. All too often girls experiences are ignored because of course only male experiences are newsworthy and as quoted above women’s and girls’ voices continue to be ignored for one reason only – girls and women are not important only men and boys.

Audrey // Posted 17 December 2008 at 10:34 am

I have sponsored a girl through this for 2 years now, its a really good charity. I get regular letters and photos too!

Sabre // Posted 17 December 2008 at 11:11 am

I’ve been sponsoring a girl through ActionAid for a few years now, it sounds very similar to what Plan UK do. It’s £15 a month and again the money goes to the child’s community rather than just the child, so it prevents resentment. The most amazing thing is the letters you get from the child (in my case, lots of drawings) and from the field workers who tell you how the child has been.

I’m not sure if it’s different to Plan UK but I would recommend it to anyone who wants to make a difference. Feminists are often accused of just having a whinge about petty issues and not caring about women/girls in the rest of the world. Not that you need to prove yourself to anyone, but it’s a good way to give something back for the price of a CD.

Laura // Posted 20 December 2008 at 2:23 am

Don’t just sponsor girls! I say this because according to a friend of mine who works for world vision on an orphan sponsorship programme, all the ‘cute’ girls get sponsored and they struggle to provide for the boys.

Nora Russell // Posted 19 November 2009 at 4:21 pm

Laura, unless the charity are allocating the funds from sponsoring a child directly to the child (which is pretty unethical, as it favours somechildren over others) then all money should be being pooled and spent on individual projects that are supported by the charity, in your example an orphange.

Sponsoring a girl basically drives funds to support female empowerment projects, such as schoolarships for girls education etc. World vision shouldn’t be struggling to provide for boys, but may be struggling to match the boys to sponsors in the UK. Sponsoring a Girl, lifts her status in the community, letters from sponsors encourage her to stay in school and give her confidence in her abilities. These are things that boys get just for being born boys in most countries.

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