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Step Into Her Shoes: 6 Girls Share Their Lives In Lockdown

Celebrating International Day of the Girl Child.


International Day of the Girl Child

There are currently more than 1.1 billion girls in our world getting ready to make their mark. They're setting goals and working hard to achieve big dreams. While COVID-19 may have posed a few challenges this year, their stubborn commitment to a better future provides hope. Let’s meet 6 inspiring girls from the UK and around the world as they live out their lives during a global pandemic.

Ariane, 12, the Philippines

Ariane and her family live by the sea on the island of Mindoro. Her goal is to help her parents in all she does—even if that means challenging traditional gender roles by hauling in the fishing nets.

Ariane and family the Philippines

“I am the third child. I have two older brothers and one younger sister. My father is a fisherman and my mother sells second-hand clothes in the market.”

Miranda, 11, United Kingdom

Miranda and her family live in South West London. She helps her mum around the house and enjoys studying science.

“I live with my mum and dad and my older brother in South West London.  I was born in the USA and also lived in Norway. I am 11 years old and I have just started at secondary school. I like drawing and playing the guitar.”

Esther, 12, Tanzania

Esther lives at the base of volcanic Mt Meru. Her dream of becoming a teacher almost ended in her first year of primary school when her father passed away. Compassion’s programme meant she could stay in the classroom.

“I live with my grandmother and my brother, while my youngest sister lives with my mother. I started living with my grandmother after the death of my father in 2015 while I was in class one.”

Dayana, 12, Colombia

Dayana lives in dusty Cordoba in the country’s north with her parents and four siblings. Her crime-affected community fuels her dream of becoming a police officer.

Dayana Colombia

“I live with my parents. I have a sister called Camila and three brothers: Fidel, Juan and Johan. I also have a nephew named Duván. My father works as a labourer and my mother is a housewife.

The best thing about being a girl is that parents take care of us more than boys. Also, that mothers do our hair beautifully. As girls, we have closer relationships with our mothers. My brothers are allowed to go out more than me, though.”

Eden, 12, United Kingdom

Eden lives in England with her family. She wants to write and perform in stage musicals and help make the world a better place.

“My name is Eden and I am in year 8 currently. I live in England with my mum, dad and my older brother.”

Shamaïka, 12, Haiti

Shamaïka lives in Cite Soleil, one of the largest slums in the Northern Hemisphere. Danger and crime mean she spends much of her time at home, but the gifted musician dreams of giving back to help others.

“I live with my father, my mother, my three sisters and my two brothers. I am the third child in the family. My mother sometimes manages to do business and my father is a motorcycle taxi driver.”

Their day during the pandemic

Ariane, the Philippines

“For me, a typical day is me helping the family, but I really enjoy the sea, just walking along the shore and swimming. I cook breakfast and wash my clothes. There isn’t much to do the rest of the day because of the pandemic.”

Miranda, United Kingdom

“I help my mum with some cleaning in the house and I tidy up my bedroom sometimes! I also help bake cakes with my mum and help my dad cook.” 

Esther, Tanzania

“During the weekdays, I normally wake up, prepare for school, and then do chores when I get back from school.

Esther from Tanzania in her kitchen

"But on the weekend, I wake up, do the dishes, clean the house, read a little then go visit my mother or my aunt.”

Dayana, Colombia

Dayana Colombia house chores

“I get up at six am. I brush my teeth and comb my hair and then make the beds. I go to the store to buy coffee for my grandma, and then I help my mother to clean the house, sweeping and doing the dishes.

Dayana playing football with her brothers

In the afternoon, I do my homework and later play football with my brothers or go to ride my bike. Some days in the afternoon, I mend my clothes.”

Eden, United Kingdom

“During the lockdown I spent lots of time online learning for school. 

"Every weekend, I clean my bedroom – dusting, wiping and hoovering – and rarely but sometimes, clean the toilets.”

Shamaïka, Haiti

“When I wake up, first I pray with the family in our daily morning devotion, then I shower, and I do the housework if it's my day. We share the tasks at home depending on the day of the week. I clean the house and go to get some water.

Shamaika collecting water in Haiti

"Because of the insecurity in the area, my parents don’t let me go out often, and also because of COVID-19. I spend my days at home. I help my mother with the housework, and I play with my brothers and sisters.

"Sometimes I play games with my brothers and sisters. I also love to sing and play the flute. Music is a passion and it helps me feel better. I could spend hours playing the flute. I miss being able to play music at my school and at my church. Now, I play for family members.”

They have big dreams

Ariane, the Philippines

“I want to be a flight attendant. But whatever job I do, I just want to help my parents when I grow up.

Ariane from the Philippines

"Being sponsored motivates me to study well because I know my sponsor is supporting me. I would tell other girls to always be obedient to your parents and study well.”

Miranda, United Kingdom

“I don’t know what I want to do when I leave school, but I have been enjoying science at school so maybe I will work in that area.”

Esther, Tanzania

“I used to fear being sent home because of [unpaid] school fees. When my father died, I thought that was going to happen to me. The embarrassment of hearing your name being called in front of your classmates as one of those who have failed to pay their school fees—I never wanted to experience that.

Esther from Tanzania reading

"My dream is to be a primary school teacher. Being sponsored has helped me to stay in school and provide for all my needs. I would tell other girls to pay attention in class and not to be afraid of asking questions if they don’t understand the teacher. My sponsor pushes me to be better in school. Last year when I was doing my national exam, her worlds helped me to pass the exam.”

Dayana, Colombia

“In the future, I want to have a house, a good family and a good job. I want to become a police officer. At the Compassion project, I learn values and they will help me in my career. I would encourage other girls keep to studying; do not abandon your studies.”

Eden, United Kingdom

Eden UK

“In the future, I hope to become a stage actress and perform in musicals and write musicals myself too. I also want to help many charities and to make the world a better place.”

Shamaïka, Haiti

“I like singing and music a lot, but I want to become a nurse. I am very grateful for all the support I have had so far in my life, which is why I would like to make a career in a field that allows me to help people, too. One of the beautiful things that has happened to me in my life is being a beneficiary of Compassion. The support has brought a lot of change for me and my family.”

They face challenges because of the pandemic too.

Ariane, the Philippines

“One thing that is hard about being a girl in this community is that we can’t fish. I love to go out to the deep sea with my father but of course, they tell me that is not a thing for young girls to do. But I want to help my parents. I help my father to tie his fishing nets; that’s expected of me as a girl. What’s not expected of me is to help haul in the catch, but I do it anyway because I want to help my family.

Ariane fishing in the Philippines

It’s hard being a girl during the pandemic. I am just doing so many house chores now because we can’t do anything else. I’m just here at home, always. As the older daughter, I am expected to cook and wash the dishes.”

Miranda, United Kingdom

“I missed my friends very much during the lockdown. It was quite boring without them. But I enjoyed being home with my family though, especially my dad who worked from home!”

Esther, Tanzania

Esther at home during covid

“Nothing is hard about being a girl in this community, but the pandemic is tough because we are stuck inside the house. I was used to waking up and going to school and going to visit my aunt. I go to my aunt for advice. I just love her. She used to live with us before she got married. But my mother wants us to stay inside all the time.”

Dayana, Colombia

“Sometimes I feel afraid of walking through my town because people are smoking, taking drugs, and I am afraid they want to steal or hurt me. In my neighbourhood, there have been cases of rape and sexual abuse. It makes me feel afraid.”

Eden, United Kingdom

“We just started to settle in a new school, a new church [and the like], but because of online learning, that was several months less of making friends and getting a proper education. Right now, all we are doing in school is catching up with work in case people could not do it at home... However, [in] my personal life, I am very grateful that none of my family members [are] infected by the virus.”

Shamaïka, Haiti

“Being a girl in certain areas is sometimes difficult. Crime is the biggest problem in my area and the main danger for kids. There aren’t many kids’ hobbies outside of school, and our parents have forbidden us to go out unless it is for a really important reason.

Shamaika outside her house in Haiti

Life is getting harder and harder and conditions are not easy. I find my comfort in my faith in Jesus and the importance that I give to my education. My best advice would be to always trust God and take your studies seriously.”

Whether sponsor or sponsored, kind words are a great encouragement!

Ariane, the Philippines

“I am thankful for my sponsor. He is like a father to me, only he lives in another country. A sponsor means someone is supporting me and believes in me and hopes I will be successful in the future. And someone is praying for me.”

Miranda, United Kingdom

Miranda and her sponsored child

“I would say to our sponsored child that I enjoy being at church and learning about Jesus and hope they do too!”

Esther, Tanzania

“Being sponsored means I get to go to school and I always love reading my sponsor’s letters. She is always encouraging me to keep doing well in school.”

Dayana, Colombia

Dayana reading letter from her sponsor

“My sponsor’s name is Erin. She prays a lot for me and puts me in God's hands. I know she will always be with me. My sponsor's support allows me to be part of the centre. She encourages me through her letters and gifts. She advises me to be a good girl, to learn values, and to continue studying. I love her very much.”

Eden, United Kingdom

Eden and her sponsored child

“We sponsor a child with compassion because it’s very unfair how I got to be born in a very safe and stable life when actually I did nothing to earn this…the children who are being sponsored did nothing to deserve the total opposite. Hopefully, they’ll grow up to feel God's love and that [they know] they’re not forgotten by the rest of the world.”

Shamaïka, Haiti

Shamaika from Haiti writing to her sponsor

“Being sponsored is a blessing from God and an extraordinary thing. I sometimes receive letters where he reminds me that I am special and how he loves me. It means a lot to me. Finding someone you have never met who cares for you and believes in your dreams is priceless.”

Sponsor a girl today!

Nearly 1 in 4 girls worldwide between 15 and 19 years old are neither employed nor in education or training compared to 1 in 10 boys the same age. By 2021, the UN estimates about 435 million women and girls will be living on less than £1.50 a day. This includes the 47 million pushed into poverty as a result of COVID-19.

There has never been a more critical time to sponsor a child. Will you help a girl like Ariane, Esther, Dayana, Shamaïka, find a better future today?

Sponsor a girl today



WORDS : Agnes Wilson, Compassion International photojournalists

PHOTOS : Compassion International


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