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Teenager sets up UN's international 'Girl Up campaign'  in Srinagar
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Teenager sets up UN's international 'Girl Up campaign'  in Srinagar

Post by Sualiha Zubair on Sunday, February 12, 2023

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Srinagar, Feb 11: Boosted by the zest for social work and women’s advocacy, Syeda, a 16 year old student from DPS Srinagar has set up “Girl Up Srinagar”, a women’s club running under the UN’s international Girl Up Campaign.
Girl Up was founded by the United Nations Foundation in 2010 as an initiative to engage and train girls around the globe. It provides girls a platform and resources to start a movement for significant social changes. 
Upon learning that there was a Girl Up Club everywhere including Jammu, Syeda decided to set up one in Srinagar to give herself and other teenagers a platform to create awareness about the unheard issues concerning women. Soon after applying for the club’s registration online, in February 2022 she received an official approval from Girl Up Foundation to set in motion the “Chapter Srinagar”.
“I believe the children in Kashmir lack platforms through which they can contribute to society or be civically engaged. Hence, Girl Up Srinagar is an opportunity that will benefit us all” said Syeda who is the president of this non-profit
The prime agenda remains to educate young children about the consciousness of one’s health and
body. “Last year our theme was addressing gender-based violence (GBV),” said Syeda, adding that in 2022 several outreach programs were held both in online and offline mode.
“In 2022, we held GBV awareness sessions to identify such cases. We did a formal dialogue based event at SP College Srinagar. Our team also produced a Spotify podcast with prominent Kashmiri figures to address GBV. Moreover, a “womanhood” themed poetry showcase at Books & Bricks Cafe, Srinagar was also held,” said the club president.
For the upcoming calendar year, the club plans on holding more dialogue driven events such as open mic sessions. According to them, it is also on their list to collaborate with some Kashmir based NGOs to hold awareness programs
about sexual health and rights.
“We will soon be releasing another podcast season to sensitize teenagers about various issues. This time we are trying to record episodes in Kashmiri language to engage a wider local audience,” says Syeda. 
The Girl Up movement was launched in India in 2018. It is now spanning over 25 states and union territories across the country. With 600 active clubs led by over 12,000 passionate youth, their aim remains to elevate the position of women in India. 
 Girl Up Srinagar is a team of 11 female students from the valley who are currently focusing on spreading sexual and reproductive awareness among women folk. “The costs are being catered from our own pockets,” reads their website.   
While talking to Rising Kashmir, Syeda asserts the need to do more for enhancing women’s status in the valley. She says "Since  it is men who mostly take decisions in our society, our concerns are not addressed properly.  “The reason Girl Up exists is to make sure women are a part of policies that are about them,” she concludes.
Pertinent to mention, the organization has established “6300 girl clubs in 150 countries that are being run by over 150,000 girl leaders,” reads its official website. The clubs under Girl Up are dedicated to working towards gender equality, women’s rights and more.

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