Each year on Feb. 22, girls across the globe celebrate World Thinking Day, a holiday for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides to honor international friendships and take action as part of a global community.
Through World Thinking Day activities and programs, 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from nearly 150 countries can work together to improve the lives of the world's poorest people, learn to take care of their own health, and to stand up for the rights of every girl and young woman.
The United Nations Foundation organization The People Speak reports that although girls' lives are similar in many aspects around the world, they are also faced with very different sets of challenges. "In many countries, girls are valued far less than boys," The People Speak writes. " ... they don't have the chance to go to school, to dream of a future career, or have time for fun. Imagine what your life would be like if your parents thought it didn't make sense for girls to go to school, get medical attention, or even get as much food as boys." The People Speak also notes that 25 percent of adolescent girls in developing or low-income countries live in extreme poverty, meaning they don't have all the basic needs for survival such as food, water, housing, clothing, sanitation, health care, and education.
"Healthy families lead to healthy communities, nations and economies; more stable regions; and a safer and peaceful world," said Stephen Sobhani of the organization Every Woman Every Child. "This global movement all starts with that one young woman - wherever she may be-and the responsibility is on all of us to make sure she has the right information, the right tools, and the right sense of self to, very simply, 'do'."
Could that one young woman be a Girl Scout? Girl Scouts are indeed often at the forefront of major advocacy efforts. Take Nikhitha Murali, who organized a health camp in a rural village in India where more than 200 people were able to visit different doctors and take home a care kit containing over-the-counter medications, dental care products, slippers, and mosquito nets - all items that are hard to come by in rural India. Many Girl Scouts such as Nikhitha are stepping into similar roles, and for many, World Thinking Day is only the beginning.
Jess Radke is the copy writer at Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes Inc., a United Way partner program. She can be contacted at 888-747-6945, ext. 5515, or email email@example.com United Way partner program.