When we share stories, they’re often those of extremes: children at risk of trafficking, famine, conflict and crisis. But sometimes, stories of bravery and courage come from everyday lives.
Sexual harassment isn’t a problem reserved for Vietnam. It’s not even a problem reserved for low-income countries; almost every woman on earth will have faced it in her lifetime. But in cities like Hanoi, Vietnam, it’s widespread and constant.
We know that cities can be some of the most dangerous places for girls to live. Girls who are isolated are at risk, and many often live thousands of kilometres away from their support networks. With nearly 5 million people added to cities every month, we need to act now to help make them safer.
No girl should be afraid to walk around her own city. No girl should fear what’s around the corner – and you can help make sure they don’t have to.
Last June, Ngoc was sitting outside a school in Hanoi, waiting for an exam. She thought the road next to the school was a safe place to revise and wait.
It wasn’t. Engrossed in her notes, Ngoc didn’t notice the man until he was lurching towards her and opening his fly to expose himself. Ngoc didn’t wait to see what he did next. She ran, not looking where she was going until she was in the middle of a crowd.
After what happened, Ngoc’s confidence was rattled, and she saw threats everywhere.
Sexual harassment can have lasting impacts on a girl’s confidence, behaviours and education outcomes. It changes how she moves in the world, and how she interacts with her peers. It can hold her back from realising her full potential.
What happened to Ngoc is horrifying. It’s unacceptable. But it’s preventable. Will you give a gift and help us work with girls, boys, parents, transport networks, and governments to create safer cities?
Your gift will help in four very powerful ways. First, it will grow the Champions of Change program and empower girls like Ngoc to know their rights to safety and move freely about the city without fear – in Hanoi, this includes self-defence training. Second, it will work with boys in their classes to encourage healthy, respectful relationships. Third, it will It will also help teach parents to strip away the stigma and support their children to speak up.
Finally, you will help us work with transport networks and local governments to educate the community about reducing sexual harassment, and make sure policy makers, bus drivers and urban planners all prioritise the safety of girls like Ngoc.
We work with vulnerable children all over the world, and your donation will help girls everywhere. Too many girls still live in fear that the next leer or comment could turn into something worse. You can be part of the solution. The Australian Government gives us a special grant to reach these children, on condition that we combine it with funds from generous supporters like you. Please make a donation today to help us make streets safer for girls like Ngoc.
By supporting children, their parents and city officials, you can help us build safer cities.