The second International Day of the Girl Child will be celebrated on October 11, 2013 and we are thrilled to welcome another delegation of Because I am a Girl ambassadors to New York City to mark this special occasion. In the coming weeks, we will introduce you to each of our fantastic ambassadors. Here is Omneia's story.
Omneia is a 22-year old activist from Egypt with a passion for archaeology and youth-leadership. Inspired by the great legacy of her country, Omneia dreams that one day Egyptians will feel as proud of modern Egypt as they are of ancient Egypt. To accomplish this, Omneia is playing an active role in changing old perceptions to encourage change in her community.
Gender stereotyping is one of the major barriers Omneia has to overcome to achieve her vision. In her rural community, girls and young women have access to educational opportunities, but because of their gender they are not allowed to take on a leading role in society. In order to fight that perception, Omneia has worked to become an example of how the participation of girls and women adds value to all aspects of leadership and change.
In August, 2012 Omneia joined a Plan-supported youth organization in her community where she learned valuable leadership and organizational skills.“Participating in the activities of the youth organization has helped me become an active member in my community. Now I have better ability to communicate effectively, negotiate, think creatively, and plan. All these skills will enable me to become the leader I aspire to be,” she said.
Omneia has carried out many youth-led initiatives including a community clean-up which focused particular attention to ridding school areas of garbage and litter. The same youth also succeeded in engaging local officials and raising awareness on the importance of living in clean environment.
In addition to leading public activities, Omneia also volunteers at the community development association to foster youth participation. “Youth-led initiatives give my community a clear example of how youth can be leaders of development. It is also a good chance to illustrate by actions that an achievement has nothing to do with your gender. During the implementation of the initiative, young men and women worked together. Difference in gender does not matter at all.” said Omneia.
Working with youth and ensuring their full participation as active citizens is more than a role for Omneia. It is a key requirement to achieve her vision of new Egypt. “I hope youth will be provided with opportunities to develop themselves and their country,” said Omneia. “Youth are the driving force of any nation. They are full of energy and creativity. Once they are provided with opportunities, they can make miracles.”
We’re excited to have Omneia with us to celebrate the International Day of the Girl on October 11 so she can bring the voice of all Egyptian youth to a global stage.