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Human Rights-a hope for many and a reality for some.

DSC_0593Aisha is a 50 year old woman who has never been through the four walls of a school. To her, human rights means total submission to her husband which includes all forms of domestic and social violence. But can you really blame her? How can she be aware of her rights when all she has known is hardship, been married at the age of 13, overwhelmed with poverty and pushed to hawk to fend for herself, her kids and her husband. Is there really a thing as human rights or does human right have a lot to do with ones social and economic status? Imagine if she was up there in the economic pecking order, would things have been different? The higher one is at the top of that order the less one is even aware of the need to have rights. Because the world makes sure that your rights are taken care of naturally. To these set of people, human rights is a reality. But the lower down the pecking order one is, the less rights one is able to access whether it is rights to clean water, good and quality reproductive health, physical safety in one’s community from one’s family, from one’s government, or just the rights to the air one breathes. To these set of people, human rights remains a hope. One’s access to rights and violations of rights are a function of the accident of where one is born and whether you’re born a boy or girl. As the whole world comes together to celebrate women once again, let’s make it happen for young girls who are trodding the path of Aisha-girls who were born down the pecking order and whose rights the world will naturally not take care of. How can we make this happen? We can do this by empowering young girls, providing them with information and educating them to stand for their rights and take their lives in their hands. A human rights perspective demands that we recognize that providing education for girls, for example, is not only a good development decision but also a question of justice, of individual rights. It leads us to see that tolerating sexual abuse is not just a bad economic choice, in terms of health costs, but also a violation of a woman’s right to bodily integrity. A human rights view reveals that maternal mortality is not only a tragedy because it deprives children of a caregiver but an abrogation of the right of a woman to basic health care. If you Empower and Educate a woman, you Empower and Educate a nation. Together, we can make it happen for young girls and women.