By Ellyanne Chlystun-Githae
Our stories hold healing power and demand to be heard. As African girls, we are sharing our narratives to foster understanding and empathy. At the Indaba on Girls’ Education in Lusaka, Zambia, we will lead the first day, the Gathering and Narration Day. Instead of speeches from experts, this day will be about us, the girls, narrating our struggles and pain. By sharing our stories, we embark on a healing journey and reclaim our own narratives.
This day will go beyond presentations, offering a transformative experience of healing through storytelling. We will awaken, listen, express, inspire, connect, and grow together. Through our narratives, we will find solace, empowerment, and connection with others who have faced marginalization and hardship.
Recognizing that it takes a village to educate a child, we invite stakeholders to join the conversation. We will share the real experiences of African girls and their challenges in accessing education. The Gathering and Narration will be a collective statement, urging global attention and action to address the issues faced by girls in Africa, particularly in the wake of COVID-19.
I’m Ellyanne Chlystun-Githae Wanjiku, Africa’s Youngest Climate Finance & Biodiversity Champion. At just 13 years old, I’m a child’s rights advocate on a mission to drive real change. I influence policymakers, fight for climate finance, and tackle climate change’s impact on children. I’ve uncovered a disturbing link between poverty, violence against girls, and climate change in arid communities. Together with stakeholders, I’m bringing hope to pastoral girls by ending early marriage and female genital mutilation.
I’m Parasian Tonkei, an 18-year-old from Kajiado, Kenya. As a member of the Maa Community of the Maasai, I’ve actively engaged in tree planting and environmental awareness initiatives led by Ellyanne and my father, Mzee Ole Kerina, a Community Leader. I’m dedicated to fighting against FGM among Maasai girls and in 2021, I took part in a Climate Change/Anti FGM project with the World Bank and Children With Nature.
Introducing Unaludo Masego Isaac from Botswana, a 16-year-old children’s rights advocate and human rights activist. As the President of the National Children’s Consultative Forum, he is passionate about advocating for solutions and problem-solving. Unaludo is here to make a difference and bring about positive change in his community and beyond.