CNN's Krsna Harilela visits Plan schools in Mali
Following a visit to a Plan school in the Malian village of Farada, CNN reporter Krsna Harilela declared, "I’m inspired to promote this story and the rights of children – especially girls."
Harilela visited Mali from March 28 to April 5, 2011. This was not a fact or story-finding mission, however: on the visit to Farada, she and 15 of her colleagues rolled up their sleeves and pitched in with Plan and community workers to build a new school. This is the second visit to Farada for Harilela and her crew; in 2009 they participated in another building project there.
In addition to Farada, Harilela also visited the village of Sanankoroba, located about 19 miles from the capital. In Sanankoroba, Plan works to provide education opportunities and vocational training to children and girls. While there, Harilela hosted an informal debate with girls living in the community.
During the debate, girls were able to raise issues or concerns in a structured environment. They revealed how much illiteracy, physical and sexual assault, and lack of schooling were impacting their lives. (Despite the relatively high enrollment of girls, 80%, about half drop out before completing primary school.)
They also spoke openly about their living conditions: their suffering from household activities imposed on them which prevent them from attending classes, and the incidents of physical violence.
Advocating for children
Moved by the young women she met over the course of her visit to Mali, Harilela expressed her desire to do more for the cause of children and especially girls. She encouraged the girls to keep using their voices, and using the media like CNN to help make their voices louder.
The stories of girls from Sanankoroba have since been featured on "Backstory" and "Africa Insight" CNN. Watch the story on the CNN website.
Plan works with and alongside children to promote their rights. Girls are particularly vulnerable, and through its "Because I am a Girl," initiative, Plan emphasizes the additional challenges faced by girls to attain education, live without violence and enjoy their rights.
Read more about Plan's "Because I am a Girl" initiative.