Female students in various schools in the North and Western Provinces have hailed the Government and development partners for putting in place an enabling environment to ensure equal opportunities between girls and boys.
The girls made the remarks in Nyabihu District during celebrations to mark this year’s international Girl Child Day.
The event, which brought together hundreds of students from schools in Nyabihu and Musanze districts, was organised by Ni Nyampinga, a platform for girls to learn, connect and explore the opportunities around them.
The Sunday event featured discussions, drama skits and dancing competitions focusing on the betterment of girls’ livelihoods.
Female students said they have equal opportunities in schools and in their families, adding that they looked to the future with hope.
“We have been taught that women used to face discrimination and their only place in society was the kitchen. But the trend has changed; girls have been supported in various programmes and are given access to education like boys,” said 17-year-old Justine Umugiraneza.
The Senior Five student at College Adventists Rwankeri said she was proud to be living in a favourable environment for a girl child.
Delphine Umutoni from STB Busogo said she looked forward to pursuing an engineering career.
“I am grateful to the Government and other development partners working on women empowerment,” she said.
“We are also thankful to inspiring females for their role in guiding us.”
The girls appealed to parents who still treat girls and boys differently to appreciate the noble role of girls in society.
Emma Claudine Ntirenganya, the managing editor of Ni Nyampinga media platform, said they had received positive feedback since they started a magazine and radio talkshows to create awareness among girls on their growth and reproductive health.
Alexandre Sahunkuye, the Nyabihu District vice mayor in charge of social affairs, said girls have shown the ability to compete with boys, especially in science and technical and vocational education.
He said as local leaders, they were committed to working with partners to ensure that the existing gaps are filled so that girls are supported to become future leaders.
Globally, October 11 was designated as the International Day of the Girl Child by a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2011. The Day is meant to highlight the necessity of protecting girls’ rights.
This year’s celebrations were held under the theme, “Empowering adolescent girls: ending the cycle of violence.”
Ni Nyampinga was launched in 2011 by Girl Hub Rwanda.