[2023 Asian Girls in Action Project Annual Presentation]
October marks the month of global advocacy for girls’ rights. On October 14th, the Garden of Hope Foundation hosted the 2023 Asian Girls In Action Annual Project presentation.
In this inaugural year, eight girls from across Asia fulfilled their dreams of transforming their local communities and of creating a more sustainable world. Their project presentations were truly innovative, and they achieved impressive results. Among them, three outstanding girls from Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and India were selected as representatives of the 2023 Asian Girls in Action Project and will continue to receive guidance and support from the GOH Foundation.
Concerned by the slow progress of gender equality worldwide, The Garden of Hope Foundation – which has long advocated for girls’ rights – joined hands with the Project-Based Learning (PBL) experts at “iEARN Taiwan” this year (2023) to transform the decade-long “Asian Girls Award” into the new “Asian Girls in Action Project.” Through more in-depth mentoring and collaboration with local and international Asian organizations, the aim is to support girls in designing projects aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This involves organizing educational activities within local communities to generate a positive and sustainable impact. Simultaneously, the aspiration is that these girls’ leadership will inspire others, further fostering female thought and action across Asia.
During the 2023 Asian Girls In Action Annual Project Presentation, the GOH’s CEO, Wang Yuehao, stated, “This year marks the 35th anniversary of The Garden of Hope Foundation. For 35 years, our vision has remained the same – to build a society free of gender-based violence where all genders are treated with kindness. The GOH looks forward to a world where all girls can grow up in a friendly and fair environment and can contribute to the creation of a sustainable and better world.”
Unlimited Sustainable Potential: Asian Girls Breaking Barriers
The Asian Girls in Action Project first made its debut in March 2023. The GOH received nearly a hundred applications from fifteen different Asian countries, highlighting Asian girls’ ambition and eagerness to change the world. Ultimately, eight projects stood out:
- Aynura from Uzbekistan defied traditional constraints on women by creating an online course promoting STEM and leadership skills to girls.
- Tasmiya from Bangladesh created a communal plastic recycling system with her classmates with assistance from the international organisation BRAC.
- Anjali from India initiated a campaign to promote teenage girls’ educational rights in a male-dominated rural area.
- Queen from Indonesia utilized social media to raise awareness of waste issues among local youth.
- Kareeshini from Malaysia set up an eco-friendly sanitary pad program to tackle the issue of period poverty and environmental pollution in the country.
- Cee Jay from the Philippines organized numerous training activities on her own initiative to promote civic education.
- Dora from Taiwan advocated for plastic reduction in traditional Taiwanese markets, in the hope of generating a positive impact on the environment.
Our eight fellows’ project results defied all expectations, with three of the girls selected as the 2023 Asian Girls in Action Project Representatives.
Aynura (Uzbekistan) applied the skills that she had acquired during the GOH’s intensive hands-on workshops in Taiwan to improve her project, including skills in project implementation and international cooperation. As a result, she successfully promoted her “LadyUp” School, a STEM training camp based in her local community. Her project was selected for the NGFP Young Voices Awards 2023 and received the Global Youth Action Fund at the Festival of Hope.
Queen (Indonesia) made a significant impact within her local community through her environmental initiative. Not only did her educational outreach on social media garner over 20,000 views, but she also collaborated with local women’s groups and school organizations, receiving commendation from the local government (Regent of Jambong) and extensive media coverage.
Anjali (India) conducted 250 surveys among parents in her community to gauge their understanding of adolescent issues. She established two youth groups, providing training on issues including gender discrimination and youth rights. She invited the participants to engage directly with the local community by expressing the importance of girls’ education through art, particularly mural paintings.
The Garden of Hope Foundation will continue to provide funding for these three inspiring projects, in the hope of promoting women in STEM, advocating for the reduction of plastic pollution, and working towards the elimination of gender-based violence.
Unafraid of Taliban government: Afghan girl speaks out about their plight
Unfortunately, due to the restrictions imposed by the Taliban government on women, Narges (Afghanistan) was unable to execute her “Women in Business” project within the set timeframe, thus missing the qualification for the annual project competition. Nevertheless, her determination to find solutions was commendable and deeply moving. The GOH Foundation has decided to award her the title of Honorary Asian Girl Ambassador 2023 and invited her to share the challenges faced by Afghan girls at the presentation.
“Afghan girls are just like water lilies,” Narges said; they have the extraordinary ability to thrive in various environments and remain resilient even when faced with harsh conditions. Despite enduring severe oppression from the Taliban regime since August 15, 2021 – which stripped them of basic human rights, including the rights to education, voice, employment, and even the freedom to choose clothing – Afghan girls have shown resilience and determination in the midst of darkness, never giving up on seeking the light at the end of the tunnel.
Dreams of Sustainability: Future leaders in the making
The outstanding results of all eight projects made it challenging for the jury to only select three girls as the 2023 Asian Girls in Action Representatives. Farah Kamal, the organizational director of iEARN Pakistan and one of the judges, stated, “All the projects were powerful and impactful. I am impressed by the level of competence these girls have shown at such a young age.”
As the Asian Girls in Action Project embarks on its 11th year and has successfully transitioned, the Garden of Hope Foundation remains steadfast in its commitment to empowering girls. The GOH will persist in nurturing a network of young Asian girl leaders, encouraging them to become a driving force for a sustainable world, with the energy and agency to shape their own futures.