As the Faculty Manager with Ireland’s leading teacher education college, it’s a natural link to work with NGOs who identify and eliminate barriers to girls’ education throughout the world. But I was behind Plan International, heart and soul, when I was in the construction industry a few moons ago.
What does an education provide? Skills, knowledge, learning, habits, beliefs being facilitated by an educator.
What does it mean to not have an education? Imagine not being permitted to complete your primary education. Imagine not having a voice. You cannot partake in civic society. You cannot identify if legal protections are in place to protect your own personal safety. Imagine limits to your future personal and professional goals.
Education empowers ultimately.
Plan International's 'Because I am a Girl' (BIAAG) campaign aims to support girls to stay in education and fulfil their potential. Plan International will help four million girls directly and transform the lives of millions more through changes in legislation.
There is a phrase used in Plan International’s promotional movies for the Because I am a Girl campaign It says: “I’ll take it from here.” This promo film was shot in a stop-motion animation style and features a 12 year-old girl from Malawi who represents the plight and power of girls around the world. And this is what she says, to paraphrase – empower me, and I’ll do what needs to get done. The film is featured on First Lady Michelle Obama's Upworthy blog from March 2015
Imagine you are me, and you work in the education sector. Not only that, but you work with Hibernia College, an organisation which specialise in teacher education. Imagine you get the wholehearted support of that institution – both on a collegial level, throughout the year, but also when it mattered – in supporting Plan’s work and vision by contributing to the superb, successful night.
As Chairperson of the voluntary Committee, it was a year-long project – from lessons learned exercises on last year’s event, designing new processes and working with new committee members, building relationships with new supporters and volunteers, designing and creating a meaningful event, increasing the social media engagement and, full circle, lessons learned this year.
This year’s inaugural Because I am a Girl Ball raised more than ever expected. But that’s not the only metric of note – Plan and the Because I am a Girl campaign has a wider reach now, with engagement and meaning attributed to the campaign and the work lives in people’s hearts and minds, and education will continue to change girls lives forever.