When you think of the phrase, "Girl Power," you might just think of the term made popular by the Spice Girls in the mid to late 1990s.
But this story doesn't feature Posh or Scary Spice, it highlights adolescent Americans making a difference in the lives of girls around the globe.
The United Nations Foundation campaign called Girl Up is created by girls for girls. The idea is to build grassroots support among American teens and tweens to help peers in developing countries stay in school, stay free from child labor and safe from violence. It is spanning cultures and continents to promote girl power.
The girl movement even caught the attention of first lady Michelle Obama, who recently invited Girl Up girls to the White House.
So far, 200,000 girls across the U.S. have signed up, and almost all the money they have raised is already helping to fund U.N. programs for girls in Liberia, Ethiopia, Malawi and Guatemala.
One of these young girls is Isabella Solimene. Born in Vietnam, Isabella was adopted at the age of 4. Her Vietnamese mother gave birth to twin girls, couldn't afford both and sent Isabella to an orphanage. Isabella has never met her identical twin sister, still living in Vietnam, named Ha.
"There's a huge difference between our lives. I go to school. I play with my friends. I hang out with my friends. She doesn't get to hang with her friends. She gets to do chores. And she's got to work 24/7. It's not what a normal teenager would do," she said.
Isabella said she hopes to help not just sister, but other adolescent girls around the world.
"If we educate one girl, she educates her community. If we inspire one girl with Girl Up, she inspires her community to get involved." -Dory Gannes, Girl Up, United Nations Foundation.
"Girls in Ethiopia might carry water for eight hours a day. They might walk eight hours to get water to bring back to their family... And that's the reality of their lives. So, we want girls in the United States to carry those water jugs, get a sense of how heavy they are. They get a sense of these girls' lives." --Tamara Kreinin, United Nations Foundation.
1. What is a developing country? Provide some examples.
2. Are the lives of children who grow up in developing countries different from children who grow up in the U.S.? How so?
3. What is a nonprofit organization? How are nonprofit organizations like Girl Up trying to help children who live in developing countries?
1. Why is important for America's youth to get a sense of how young people in other parts of the world live?
2. Why is it important to help peers in developing countries stay in school, stay free from child labor, and safe from violence.
3. How can you help your peers in developing countries?
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