Fight for Girls: Sakshi S. Creates Extensive Curriculum to Educate and Problem-Solve for Trafficking and Child Marriage
For her Gold Award, Sakshi S. from Girl Scouts of Northern California, created Project GREET (Girl Rights: Engage, Empower, Train), which engages and educates audiences around the world on the root causes of human trafficking and child marriage, the staggering prevalence of the problem, and ways to stop it—all while promoting gender equality.
Her curriculum, “Guidelines to Rehabilitate Young Trafficked Girls,” provided tools, including a website, documentary film, YouTube playlist, and training materials, for crucial job training programs to financially empower both previously trafficked girls and those still at risk. These guidelines, along with her documentary film (for which Sakshi interviewed activists, lawyers, and social workers from around the world), website, and YouTube playlist were distributed to more than 59 partner organizations worldwide and many United Nations delegates from countries such as Thailand, Cuba, Cameroon, Pakistan, Bhutan, Jordan, and more.
Project GREET has already impacted, directly or indirectly, approximately three million people, and will continue to spread awareness and provide urgent solutions for girls at risk of child marriage and human trafficking around the world.
Q: Why did you choose this topic for your Gold Award project?
A: Since freshman year, I have been involved with my local Amnesty International group and my High school’s Girls Learn International (GLI) club. Through my work with Amnesty International, GLI, and through facts I have heard about forced child marriages and girls being trafficked, I understood deeply how the two vile practices directly violate girls’ rights.
However, most individuals cannot relate to these issues. I strongly believe that almost every social injustice or global issue disproportionately hurts women and girls. Being an action oriented activist, I started an Amnesty International chapter at my high school and also led the GLI chapter at my school.
I undertook this Gold Award project to address these global vile practices one step at a time.
Q: What kind of impact has resulted from your project, and how will it be sustainable?
A: My project focuses on root causes, trends and key identifiers of trafficking, child marriage and gender inequality. Hence, its educational tools will be useful even 15 years later, unless these vile practices are entirely eradicated by then.
My project is a framework for education and empowerment and not a one-time event. To sustain Project GREET’s impact after initial film screenings and distribution, I used an automated calendar service to send reminder emails on Women’s Equality Day (August 26), International Day of the Girl (October 11), and International Women’s Day (March 8) until 2033. Project GREET’s partner organizations will also be reminded to screen my film and share the website's educational resources on the aforementioned dates, though they are encouraged to use them more often. Additionally, an email will be automatically sent at the beginning of every month, detailing a women’s rights initiative that historically took place that month, and a supplementary reminder to use parts of my resources to engage and mobilize communities. Since these organizations already have detailed take action plans, this reminder will help them use my project to train different communities on trafficking, child marriage and gender inequality.
All partner organizations have expressed interest in using my curriculum to expand their
outreach. As of late 2017, Amnesty International Burkina Faso and Brazil chapters have decided to add a vocational training program for trafficked girls, and Girls Learn International is happy to add Project GREET resources to its chapters’ curriculum for U.S. high school students to use as an advocacy tool.
Additionally, the Catholic Network to End Human Trafficking will host a vocational training fair for potential trafficking victims in mid-2018. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is considering creating a vocational training to protect against trafficking (for both boys and girls). They are using my curriculum to plan their program. All the United Nations delegates have agreed to further expand the outreach of my project and reuse it with an objective to stop these horrid practices.
My website and curriculum continue to be used to increase awareness, garner support from better-equipped communities, connect individuals to activist Non-governmental Organization or NGOs, and empower previously trafficked girls and girls at risk to leave the vicious cycle of dependency on their trafficker.
Q: What have you learned from completing your project, and how has your Gold Award prepared you for the future?
A: I have gained more confidence to be a risk-taker, a trait that will help me in my future to form connections, thereby complementing my current skills.
When I interviewed experts from across the globe on the topics of child marriage, trafficking, gender equality, governance and film-making, I learned that a leader continually learns and reflects.
Previously, I had never delegated so many tasks, let alone to many adults. I had primarily communicated with peers in past leadership roles. So, through this project, I’ve significantly improved my leadership and team building skills.
During this project, I also built relationships with individuals from different religions, ethnicities, cultures and communities around the world. This has inspired me to choose a job in the future with an international aspect that will immerse me in different cultures.
I also learned new technical skills like website building, movie making, and video editing, improved research skills and became an expert on trafficking, child marriage and gender inequity. Through the extensive use of Excel and email archiving methods to stay organized, and PowerPoint presentations to pitch my project to team members, I was able to manage a large number of people, and thus vastly bettered my record-keeping and organization skills. These skills have given me a new outlook.
As a future leader, I hope to become more compassionate and gain greater perspective from others to tackle pressing global issues such as climate change, lacking representation of women and minorities, war and poverty, unscrupulous business practices, and social evils beyond trafficking and child marriage.
Q: What have you learned from being a Girl Scout?
A: Girl Scouts has given me the confidence to learn, lead, and serve, and the courage to take physical and operational risks.