For more than 60 years Children Believe, formerly known as Christian Children’s Fund of Canada, has helped vulnerable children everywhere and from all walks of life dream of a better world.
“We serve as a catalyst to ensure that children are protected. Children have the opportunity to have their voices heard, but there is also gender equality as well,” said Patrick Canagasingham, CEO of Children Believe.
As International Day of the Girl approaches, Children Believe has championed social issues facing girls worldwide, such as violence, forced child marriage and lack of access to education.
“If a girl is not educated, we know that poverty gets further amplified. There is enough evidence to back this,” Canagasingham said.
“Often times we focus on the big picture and at times we don’t realize that some of the key influencers tend to be at the grass root level. It starts with the family. It starts with the community. We are providing the space for girls to have a voice.”
Currently Children Believe supports 800,000 children, women, and men in more than 160 communities around the world.
“It’s fair to say that children including girls in Canada need attention as well,” said Canagasingham.
“One of things we have done at Children Believe, is we’ve launched a Global Youth Ambassador mentorship program to provide opportunities for young people. We encourage girls in particular to actively participate in this.
“We are piloting this program in Paraguay to learn about a different culture, but also to help co-create programs that will impact their peers in another part of the world.”
International Day of the Girl is on Friday. Children Believe is calling for greater gender equality for girls worldwide through the power of education.
“There is one girl that inspired me, her name is Sypria and she is 16-years old,” said Canagasingham.
“Chances are from the time she was born she was told she would have to drop out of school and get married early. Sypria showed resilience, she had the resolve to pursue her education, but she also inspired the community and she inspired me by saying that , that didn’t have to be the norm.”