Raising My Voice for Ethiopian Girls

This article was posted in Ms Magazine on June 14, 2016 by Achie Gezahegne, Rise Up Girl Leader (Let Girls Lead is an initiative of Rise Up, which advances health, education and equity for girls, youth and women everywhere).

I still have a vivid memory of a room filled with over 35 girls, each with her own powerful ideas, strong presence, and remarkable depth. We all came together for a Let Girls Lead training with the aim of solving the problems facing girls in Ethiopia. But little did we know that the event would come to redefine our perceptions of the power of girls.

The strength of our voices together was contagious. I felt amazed not only at what I observed before me, but also imagining what was possible. The power to question, speak, refuse and fight was innate, though buried in social and ethical barriers. Our power had been covered by fear, struggle and abuse. My own power was obscured in a web of economic and social burden, traditional barriers, expectations and stereotypical misrepresentations.

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