The First Stories about Girls’ Lives in Kyrgyzstan

Rising Voices Grantee Project Update

Two months ago, we started writing our own stories and publishing them on our blog. We then started collecting other girls’ stories from different districts of Kyrgyzstan. Their stories are all very different.

In their emails to us, girls wrote about hard work, discrimination, and the education system in Kyrgyzstan and how they feel about it. Jibek writes in the blog:

“I am interested in science because it gives us answers to so many of the questions we have in this world. Whenever I told my mother that I wanted to be a scientist, she would tell me that it wouldn’t happen, that it wasn’t for me, and that people wouldn’t take me seriously,”

Recently, one of the coordinators of the Girl Activists Club presented our group at the international seminar “Well-being, development and healthy futures for every girl” in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She shares:

“There were no girls at the conference except me, but the topic of the meeting was about us, about girls! We don't want someone else to represent us, we want to speak for ourselves and discuss and talk about ourselves.”

We saw similar situations in the past, when we were just starting our club. At every meeting, people in their 30s – 50s discussed youth issues, and they weren't many youth present at all. It’s a problem that people are not giving girls the opportunity to speak for themselves.

“I spoke about our values and what we want to accomplish. I said that children are not our future, they are our present. We are here and ready to act. Some women said, jokingly, ‘We are also girls, but already grown girls.’”

After that, we met with girls from the project and we added two more new girls in Girl Activists of Kyrgyzstan. We decided to make a video for International Girls’ Day celebrated on October 11th utilizing a traditional storytelling practice. You can watch the video called “Our Day, Our Voice!” with subtitles (click the CC button).

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