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Great news from Nigeria – and there is even more to come: In June 2018, the iF team honored the project “Girls Not Wives” by the Wadi Ben-Hirki-Foundation with the iF SOCIAL IMPACT PRIZE. And we are happy to hear the report by this outstanding project and its impressively dedicated – only 21 year old – founder: Wadi Ben-Hirki. Since then, Ben-Hirki and her team managed to promote the project even more – and she also launched a new one: “SHEROES”.
The reality of many young women and girls in Nigeria is crucially different from Europe or other parts in the world. In some regions of the country child marriage, female genital mutilation, rape and trafficking happen on a daily basis. This is where the foundation sets in to raise awareness about the topic and to help these girls on their way to freedom. The project also provides a platform for girls-child education, gender equality and empowerment.
“Our advocacy work had been very limited as we had very little resources to carry out our activities and outreach”, said Wadi Ben-Hirki. “Since being honored we managed to launch SHEROES which is a follow-up project.”
With only 21 years of age, Wadi Ben-Hirki has oragnized her own foundation to help children and women in Nigeria for a better future. Together with her team she launched her seventh project and is a firm advocator of women and child rights in Nigeria. One of the biggest issues for Ben-Hirkis Foundation is child marriage: Over 43 percent of girls are married before their 18th birthday, and 17 percent before they turn 15. Secondly, the problem of forced girl-child labor: Instead of being send to school, most girls are forced to work as maids, shop helps and street hawkers, being exposed to sexual assault on a daily basis. Read more about Ben-Hirkis Foundation here.
After helping girls out of unwanted marriage, human trafficking or violence – the work does not stop for Ben-Hirki, as she reports to iF: ”That is when the most important part starts with SHEROES. We have to empower and enable these women and girls to live better lives and play their parts in the future!” Ben-Hirki wants to help young Nigerian women to discover themselves, their potentials and their purpose. “It is a platform to help them dream beyond their present and aim to be great leaders and influential change makers in all fields and careers”, she emphasized.
Ben-Hirki organizes educational happenings and meetings where women are taught skills from self-esteem to leadership. Education is a crucial aspect in her work, she says to iF, since it is not easy for a 21-years old woman to reach a wider audience and increase the awareness for the realities of young women in Nigeria. “But this is so important. So we also plan to organize street campaigns to educate more people on the topic but also on the importance of school education for these girls”, Ben Hirki said.
iF wants to know: What comes next? “We are currently working on creating a small accessible library in a central area for young girls and children to easily access books and help them in school. Further, we would like to award more girls with scholarships to enable them increase knowledge and get a quality education.”
iF CEO Ralph Wiegmann says about the initiative: “The iF SOCIAL IMPACT PRIZE is our contribution to society. What we aim to do is to make the many, diverse social activities and commitments of people and organizations more visible, to honor those efforts and to support exceptional engagement. The commitment of these young people is unprecedented. We are glad to have made a contribution.”
Read more about the award here.
another success story about the Indian Rescue Foundation here.