For International Women's Day, we're bringing you to the island of Sri Lanka. Just off the southern tip of India, this country is home to 20 million people. Yet after a 30-year civil war, only 56% of its working-age population is employed. Lush, rural regions house large pockets of forgotten migrant workers, where extreme poverty becomes a daily barrier to staying in school. Women also face their own set of challenges. While Sri Lankans are adapting more progressive attitudes towards gender equality, girls still face discrimination and barriers to education in several regions. This is particularly true in the Tamil tea plantations and the central highland areas. In these places, girls often work long hours for low wages, preventing them from attending class.
Thirumagal is one of these girls. She is also one of the many girls who have fought against the odds with the help of Room to Read's Girls' Education Program. Her perseverance made her the first woman in her family to graduate secondary school and the first to attend college! She's now studying at Sri Lanka's prestigious University of Jaffna and plans to pay it forward by becoming a professor.
When you support girls like Thirumagal, you not only help one young woman go beyond the expected, but also incite a ripple effect reaching new families and communities. Today for International Women's Day make a difference and #BeBoldForChange!