Speaking out against violence



The fight against violence towards girls is turning into a vocation for Wellington Girls’ College student Dawape Giwa- Isekeije.

“It’s not just a problem that goes on overseas. It happens here too,” the Nigerian-born 17-year-old said yesterday.

In May, she organised a march of hundreds of students through the city’s streets to call on Nigerian authorities to do more to secure the return of 234 schoolgirls to their families after they were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria in April.

Their plight sparked a global campaign and shocked Giwa-Isekeije, who moved from Nigeria to Canada when she was five years old but has spent the past two years studying in Wellington.

“Those young girls were my age from school. What would happen if 250 girls were abducted from my school?”

Promoting a call for action against such violence towards girls was why she agreed to become one of the speakers at a public event for International Day of the Girl, which is being run today from 12-2pm at Wellington’s Frank Kitts Park by Unicef New Zealand and Youth for UN Women.

Its focus was breaking the cycle of violence against girls and would include an art installation of girls’ clothing on a washing line, with every fourth item coloured white to signify the one in four girls aged 15 to 19 who had been a victim of physical violence.

Giwa-Isekeije plans to return to Canada next year to study human rights and advocacy at university.


Story and picture credit: The Dominion Post

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