Girls for The Last Girl is a U.S.-based organization supporting the work of Apne Aap, a grassroots Indian organization founded by Ruchira Gupta that empowers girls with the resources to resist and end sex-trafficking.
Girls are key to ending global poverty. When we invest in girls, their successes transform not only their own lives, but the lives of their families and communities. Through their empowerment and education, new opportunities are made available, the economy is expanded and families are made stronger. When girls are given a chance to stay in school, to delay marriage and childbirth, be granted access to health services, then families, communities and countries all benefit.
Founded by a small group of students, we work with our members and supporters to carry out a two-part mission:
The Delhi Center for the Last Girl is a safe space located in the heart of Delhi. Girls from different caste-ghettoes who are victims of sex- and labor-trafficking are brought to the Center every day. Here, children of prostituted women and those at risk of forcible coercion into sex trafficking receive vocational training, informal education classes, and legal assistance. They are helped to obtain birth certificates and other government subsidy cards. Without the Center’s assistance, these girls and their daughters are at high risk for conscription into prostitution, child marriage, child labor or all three.
In addition to meals and medical services, girls are provided with an educational curriculum and marketable skills such as computer, video and sewing classes. They also have access to a range of recreational activities including art and dance lessons. Weekly writing and open-mike sessions provide a space for self-expression. A peer-run Girls Club teaches and empowers members to protect themselves and others against prostitution, forced marriages, and trafficking, and introduces basic civic privileges such as government IDs and subsidies. Additionally, girls receive legal help to file cases against their traffickers.
Girls for the Last Girl will advocate for the “Last Girl,” the one marginalized in her society due to class, sex, caste, age, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual identity, immigration status, mental and physical ability, and more. Many interventions, with the aim of reaching the maximum numbers in the least time, deliberately ignore the Last Girl because she is hardest to reach and more difficult to uplift. Girls for the Last Girl will actively engage young girls to participate in a campaign to address the physical global march for women and girls, and ask countries to address the concerns of their Last Girls economically, socially, and politically.
The aim of the campaign is to influence governments, foundations, and civil societies to stand by the “Last Girl.” The campaign is specifically asking the U.N. to keep the promises it made over 20 years ago in Beijing, not just to some, but to all girls, by including the Last Girl in all global agendas and sustainable development goals. By bringing together the voices of girls and young women around the world, we hope to create a critical mass and a unified public voice to help raise the profile of the Last Girl and influence policy.
The Last Girl is poor, young and neglected by society and development interventions. She exists in every culture in the world, but remains last one to receive social, legal or economic support. We believe that when empowered through community, education and decision-making power, she will thrive and pass on the benefits to those around her. For more on The Last Girl, check out this insightful article by Apne Aap founder Ruchira Gupta about her time traveling in India with Gloria Steinem.
(content via girlsforthelastgirl.org)
Page photo credit: David Goldman, DavidGoldmanPhoto.com
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