Our Polish edition of GIRLWITHABOOK campaign, we try not only to support the global movement for education, but also to facilitate access to it, to spread knowledge about the socio-political situation in other countries and to mobilise people to fight for a better future.
Polish edition of GIRLWITHABOOK campaign encourages people around the world to photograph themselves with books and signs “I stand with Malala”, in order to support the principles of Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai and to draw attention to the global problem which is the lack of access to education and sometimes very poor quality of schooling in the world:
– 57 million children are out of schools, more than half of them are girls
– Lack of qualified teachers
– Lack of basic teaching tools, books, classes, and accessories: pens, notebooks and other
– There is a lack of places where children can study in peace and in good conditions, etc..
The campaign also draws attention to issues that make young people leave school benches before completign their full education:
– Children who are forced to work, often in poor and dangerous conditions
– Girls who are forced into early marriage
– Children who are recruited into army or paramilitary units, so-called “child soldiers”
– Children who are taken by force to brothels public houses
– Children from conflict areas
– Children from regions affected by natural disasters
– Diseases, epidemics, health problems and lack of education regarding basic hygiene
– Poverty, etc..
Our campaign not only supports international movement by mobilising others to join the fight for education through the pictures, but is also trying to raise awareness and provide information on current socio-political situation in various parts of the world and problems faced by their inhabitants. With the support of the Poland-Asia Research Center , SWPS college and publishing house Barbelo (meetings aroun literature), our partners, we are organising lectures, meetings, debates, workshops, where we discuss the above-mentioned topics.
In less than three months of our activities, we visited nine cities (from Gorzów to Lublin, and Cracow to Łochów), organized 11 lectures for adults and several workshops for children, were in kindergartens, middle schools and colleges, we took part in festivals and other events such as the Big Book Festival, Photo Fringe / Photomonth in Cracow, Warsaw Reads, Women-Guns, Books in boxes.
People from all over Poland (but not only) have already joined us. They photograph themselves during our meetings, or they send us photos by email (everyone can do this, our e-mail: dziewczynkazksiazka [at] gmail.com). Among the photographs we also have “better known faces” like these of Magdalena Cielecka, Bogusław Linda, Anna Dziewit-Meller, Maria Pakulnis, Alicja Kapuścinska, Sylwia Chutnik, including foreign e.g. the one of Bajaga. We also receive works of graphic designers and photographers: Magda Danaj’s graphic has become our logo or photos from Justyna Zduńczyk.
Our campaign goes beyond Polish borders, and that we call it the “Polish edition” today refers only to the fact that it was brought to life by Poles. We supported the JMBG movement in Bosnia, invited girls from Gagauzia (one of Moldova’s autonomies) to join our project, we photographed women in Thailand. Soon we will present further national and international partners, but today we unveil another secret:
“I strongly believe in what we do (GIRLWITHABOOK included) and that our work can translate into an important change for a better world, but I also believe that if our work has an impact on the children of our communities this Change that we seek will be much more profound and lasting.”
Together we believe that education can change the world, be an alternative and a solid foundation for a better future, and that our actions will sensitise people. We are aware that the issues we raise are neither easy nor pleasant, but more than speaking we are afraid of silence and ignorance. Malala Yousafzai said “I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.”
And a moment later there comes a time when you realise that even a symbolic gesture, pictures, support, information, can give someone encouragement, maybe even hope. Here is an extract of the email we received from Senka Čelik, a pupil from the city Niemila in Bosnia:
“In societies where all girls like Malala live, the people respond montrously to stories like hers. More violence is a common response as well as denial. It is almost as if they think that ”sweeping it under the carpet” will make it go away. This is why I think that schooling with proper education, and the people’s rights being brought up, along with coverage in media and polictics, the problem can be reduced. Even though our situation is no better than Malala’s, I stand with her. I stand with everything she represents and every life she has touched, mine included.”