Young girls these days have definitely made a mark in the social media platform, exposing themselves to a great deal of happenings in society. Girls as young as 10 have been creating their very own social media platforms on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and the likes of many such sites. Many have also become influencers on such platforms.
In an effort to provide the girls with an outlet for them to share, mingle and speak about their opinions or to even just have a mere normal daily discussion about their everyday life, The Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) has reached out to young girls between the ages of 12 and 18 to interact in a chat group where they could talk openly about any problems or concerns they may have.
WAO Capacity Building Officer, Hannah Reshma Jambunathan said Malaysia lacks care services for young girls, particularly for underprivileged communities, and young women who are often overshadowed due to a major stigma against age and gender.
She stated that;
They deserve the opportunities and the spotlight to make decisions and advocate for change, by allowing girls to take centre stage to share their opinions by listening and respecting what they have to say, thus empowering these girls, and continue normalising a rights-based approach to social change for our girls.
The group is run on a Discord app, and Hannah plays the role of a moderator. She said that it was part of a network named Girls Takeover and was set up by WAO during the lockdown period in April, when people had to resort to communicating online with friends.
The local network, in spite of its name, is not affiliated with the international movement called Girls Takeover, in which women hold positions of authority such as judges, leaders, and chief executives among others.
Hannah has affirmed that the Discord channel, includes ordinary young girls whom come together to share a variant discussion of topics from daily activities and family gatherings to local politics and the US Black Lives Matter movement.
This initiative is definitely a noteworthy move needed by our society for girls from all walks of life to assemble and share their problems or issues in order to positively elevate one another to do better, more so during such unprecedented times.
Hannah also further acclaimed that;
Our network is quite diverse, the majority of the girls come from some form of marginalised communities. Some have HIV and others, disabilities. We also have a few girls from the refugee communities
Presently, more then 70 girls have joined the platform, while WAO is targeting 200 young girls by year end.
Girls aged between 12 and 18 are free to join, when a parent or guardian signs a consent form.
The girls are welcome to share and discuss on enlightening topics such as the rights of migrants and refugees, child sexual abuse and domestic violence, at the same time exchanging news articles on racism, and engaging in interactive discussion topics with their fellow peers on various issues affecting women and society.
While the discussions seem to be quite heavy and thought provoking, WAO also acknowledges that these are young girls, hence will make the session not too serious by engaging in light-hearted discussions about their daily routines or family practices.
Several other girls lately talked about Deepavali decorations as well as how they celebrated Deepavali and Hari Raya during the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).
This medium is a very productive initiative embarked on by WAO in building a more united group of young girls.
The group is also able to illuminate them better regarding the recent happenings in the country, by sharing their various takes and thoughts on what matters, and have an open medium to discuss about all that is troubling and of concern to them.
Well done on this wonderful platform WAO!