CELEBRATING THE DAY OF GIRL by Maikel van de Mortel
It has been two years; five months and sixteen days to the date that my life was turned upside down as I became the proud father of a precious little girl named Fleur. It was (unconditional) love at first sight. An event so epic, it rendered most other things in my life insignificant. My joy was soon turned to worry when I realized the many challenges that lie ahead for her. It goes without saying that we all face our fair set of life challenges, regardless of gender, but a girl’s journey, I believe, is vastly more challenging as she will encounter those that set double standards, or worse, try to devalue her simply because of her gender. This reality leaves me terrified.
To keep things in perspective, her mom and I believed she would benefit from having a role model in her life, someone she can relate to and identify with, someone who would inspire her for years to come. Queue in a beautiful little girl from Honduras, Fernanda.
Only three months apart in age, yet born into less than ideal conditions, Fernanda is a sweet and happy girl, as well as an amazing pen pal for Fleur and our family. She gives us lots to talk about, be thankful for and provides daily inspiration. Although Fleur is still too young to fully grasp the situation, it’s my hope that she will pay her lessons forward, inspiring and empowering girls wherever she goes.
As nature has it, yesterday Fleur became a big sister, as another beautiful baby girl was born into my family, Myla. She too will soon connect with her pen pal from abroad. Until this happens, I am looking to Fleur and Fernanda to support, inspire and share their love.
Declared by the U.N. as the International Day of the Girl Child, each year on October 11 we recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. In light of this special day, it is my hope you will take a moment to reflect on gender rights and the resulting societal impacts. Myla arrived just in time to celebrate with us. I hope you will join in too.
To find out more:
United Nations Official Document: http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/66/170