May 12th, 2012
Here’s another reason to love Freida Pinto. She’s currently on a three-day visit in Sierra Leone to encourage children in Makeni “not to give up hope” as there is a bright future ahead of them because of the courage and determination she has seen in them. Speaking to the children at the Girls Making Media Project, Freida Pinto stated that children have right to education, and their rights are to be respected and preserved even by their parents and the communities they find themselves.
“I am here also to learn from these girls,” she declared, adding, “I am really moved by the courage of the children because at their ages, they can be able to use the media effectively and they know what they want, and they can speak to their parents about what they want. This has made me believe strongly that even with the ten years war this country has gone through, you the girls still have hope and I really admire the way you look and analyze issues affecting your lives,” she stated.
During her interaction with some of the girls involved in child rights advocacy, the Slumdog Millionaire star questioned the girls about their aspirations and why they decided to be advocates for their rights and the rights of their colleagues. The girl advocates and some of the girls explained different experiences and encounters with their families, friends, and even society with regards discrimination against girls. Freida Pinto assured the girls that she will pay attention to their stories as they have reported to her to ensure that their world is made a better place for them. She noted, “It does not take a famous person to make changes but the will and mind set of the individual.”
She said that throughout her trip, all that she has learnt from the children will strengthen her hope and resolve in her campaign to empower young girls and boys for the development of the world. During the meeting with the Deputy Mayor of Makeni, Isatu Fofanah, she said she was happy for the visit and disclosed that in the past, education for girls in the district was a taboo as parents do not send their girl- child to school, but the inception of FAWE awareness about sending the girl-child to school washed away that old held tradition that discriminated against the girl-child being sent to school. “With this awareness by FAWE, girls are now coming out and getting education and this has helped them to take part in decision making processes in their communities,” she noted. She however expressed concern that they are still grappling with what she said was “the admiration” girls are having for their colleagues involved in petty trading which she said “is seriously impacting on the level at which the girls go in their education.” She called for civil society engagement in this area, “to preserve the continuity of girls in schools and vocational institutions,” she said.
Big thanks to visitor Emmanuelle for the heads up and the Awoko Newspaper for the article. How great is Freida?!