Hardeep Singh Kohli writes about the difference dads can make towards helping young girls globally fulfill their potential. Read about why he is supporting ActionAid's SheCAN appeal this Father's Day.
It’s Father’s Day this Sunday and ActionAid asked me if I would share my thoughts on being a father and what my hopes and dreams are for my daughter, Missy, who is 16 years old.
Being a father, particularly to a daughter, makes me realise how little I know about the world, how little I know about myself and also quite how profound a love can be. I love the fact that I thought, as one of 3 brothers, that having a daughter would help me understand about womankind – hahaha – hilarious, I’m really that naïve.
When a girl is born poor her life chances are severely reduced
Me and my daughter spend most of our time eating, chatting and shopping, and we’re passionate about all three. Not all young women are as lucky as my daughter to be born in this country and to be afforded the opportunities she has.
When a girl is born poor, her life chances are severely reduced. Young women have fewer rights, less access to education, to sexual health services, networks, and decision making.
They are trapped – trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, violence and inequality.
Inspired by a father’s love in Kenya
In Kenya’s West Pokot region, ActionAid works with a dad whose life couldn’t be more different to mine. I’m inspired by his story. Atuko is a 64 year old father of 5 daughters and having seen the impact of female genital mutilation on his two eldest daughters, he now speaks out against it. Thanks to support he has received from ActionAid he refuses to let his other daughters be cut. He says:
“I have come to realise that female genital mutilation is not important and is an outdated tradition. The most important thing for my children is that they are educated and can get good jobs as I never had that opportunity.”
My life might be very different to Atuko’s but we both want the best for our daughters.
Now is the time to act
Awful news headlines dominate our media, of girls and women living with the effects and fear of female genital mutilation, the 300 abducted schoolgirls in Nigeria and the horrific killings of two teenage girls in India. Never has there been a greater time to raise funds and awareness to put a stop to such cruel practices and to safeguard the lives and education of girls across the developing world.
This is why I’m supporting ActionAid’s SheCAN appeal to help free young women across the world from violence and poverty and to allow them to realise their full potential.
So, by the 25th of June let’s raise as much money as possible and whatever we raise, the government, yes, you heard me, the government will double it.