Around the world, 129 million girls are out of school and estimates show, due to the coronavirus pandemic, an additional 20 million girls may drop out. Barriers to girls’ education include poverty, child marriage and gender-based violence.
Rotary members are creating community-based solutions to provide immediate resources to girls worldwide to help them overcome those barriers including; access to education, anti-abuse services, health care and menstrual hygiene.
Mildred Fragante from the Rotary Club of Cubao Metro Aurora, Quezon City was named one of six Rotary People of Action: Champions of Girls’ Empowerment for her effort to address abuse against women and children.
Mildred joined Rotary in 2017 and encouraged her new club to support young victims of abuse in the community. This led to the founding of Aurora, a resource and education program to empower and equip abuse survivors for life, and Reconnect, a back-to-school program pairing journalists and authors with the young people so they can improve their writing skills and better tell their stories and heal.
After receiving a Rotary Global Grant in 2019, Fragante and Rotary Club of Cubao Metro Aurora were able to renovate the girls’ shelter and create a safe haven for victims, which continues to this day.
The victim of child abuse herself, Fragante felt the need to give back to those who had protected her and care for those in need. To date, Mildred has positively impacted the lives of more than 300 young girls with the back-to-school program and at least 150 girls each night seeking protection at the shelter.
“Our past doesn’t define our future. By telling our stories, we are starting the healing journey and letting others know that it’s possible to overcome the trauma and thrive in life,” said Mildred.
“Our honorees have taken extraordinary steps to improve the status of girls,” said Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta. “An investment in girls upholds their rights today and promises a more equitable and prosperous future. This is more than just a one-year commitment from our organization, it is ingrained in our values and central to our ongoing mission of Service Above Self.”
Rotary members develop and implement sustainable projects that fight disease, promote peace, provide clean water, support education, save mothers and children, grow local economies and protect the environment. Over $5.3 billion has been awarded through The Rotary Foundation to support these programs worldwide.
Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.4 million members in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. For more information, visit Rotary.org.
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