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Pride 2023: Safety and inclusivity paramount at Markeaton Park


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International Girl Child Day, African Girl and Education

Girl Day is celebrated every year on October 11 as an opportunity to raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by girls around the world, especially in Africa, and the importance of providing them with quality education. In this article, we explore the Day's importance in the context of education in Africa, the challenges faced by girls, and initiatives aimed at improving their access to education. Education is a human right and the basis of personal and social development. However, African girls often face many barriers that prevent them from accessing education. These issues may be cultural, economic or political, but they all contribute to gender inequality in education. Girls' Day provides an opportunity to address these issues and work for gender equality in education.One of the most important problems faced by girls in Africa is early marriage and pregnancy. Cultural norms in many African societies dictate that girls should marry at a young age, often forcing them to drop out of school. Additionally, the lack of comprehensive sex education can lead to unintended pregnancies, further hindering their educational progress. Initiatives that raise awareness about the importance of delaying marriage and pregnancy until after completing their education are crucial.Another major obstacle is poverty. Many families in Africa struggle to meet basic needs, and education can be costly due to expenses like uniforms, books, and transportation. Girls are often the first to be withdrawn from school when a family faces financial constraints. To address this issue, scholarships, school donation programs, and affordable school supplies can help reduce the financial burden on families and support girls' education.Additionally, especially in rural areas, the distance to school will prevent girls from going to school. Unsafe travel and long distances can put them at risk. Building more schools and providing transportation closer to communities could help solve this problem. In many African countries, boys are expected to be encouraged in education and girls are expected to work within the family. It is important to change these attitudes and promote the value of girls' education. Social awareness programs and inclusive education programs that challenge stereotypes can play a key role.Child labor is another problem affecting girls. Many girls have to work to support their families, leaving little time for education. Government policies and international organizations can work to eliminate child labor and ensure girls have the opportunity to go to school.Unfortunately, conflicts and conflict in many parts of Africa have disrupted education and made it difficult for girls to access education. Efforts to build peace and improve education in post-conflict regions are critical to providing girls with a stable and safe learning environment.One of the best ways to improve educational opportunities for girls in Africa is to support and train female teachers. Many female teachers can act as role models and make it easier for girls to stay in school by creating an inclusive environment.Investing in girls' education in Africa has many long-term benefits. It can break the cycle of poverty, improve women's health, and promote gender equality. Girls who receive an education are more likely to make informed decisions about their health, family, and career. They are also more likely to become financially independent and contribute to their communities and economies. Several organizations, both local and international, are actively working to improve the education of girls in Africa. Plan International, UNICEF, and the Malala Fund are just a few examples. They provide resources, advocacy, and support to ensure that girls have equal access to quality education.In conclusion, Girl Child Day serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by girls in Africa when it comes to education. The challenges they face are many and include cultural barriers, financial constraints, and gender stereotypes. But through a combination of advocacy, policy change, and organizational efforts, progress can be made to ensure that girls receive a quality education just like boys. Investing in girls' education is not only a human rights issue but also a key driver of economic growth in Africa. This is something worth celebrating and encouraging on Girls' Day and every day.

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A variety of organisations came together to create a safe space for hundreds of guests at Derby’s annual LGBTQ+ celebration.

Colourful flags flew proudly across a sunny, near-cloudless sky as attendees flocked to enjoy the free event and socialise with members of the lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer community. On the main stage, there were a variety of live performances including singer Lauren Porter – who did tributes to both Pink and Dusty Springfield – and drag queen Betty Bangs, plus a ring where wrestlers performed stunts throughout the day.

Stallholders were also present at the event to raise awareness of issues pertinent to the LGBTQ+ community and provide helpful advice. Among these was the NHS’s Your Sexual Health Matters (YSHM) team, who shared information around preventing STI transmission and distributed free condoms.

Sexual health practitioner Gary Woodhouse said: “It’s really important to make sure that we’re covering the whole of the county. We attend all the major events that we can, including Chesterfield and Belper Pride. This is our final one for the year, so it’s really important that we’ve been seen out and about around the whole county.”

Charles Dewa, also with YSHM, added that the event was a good opportunity to connect with other service providers. “It’s very good seeing so many people around,” he said. “We’re networking here today and have made a lot of links that we’ll be working with in the future.”

Change Grow Live was another helpful organisation in attendance, aiming to raise awareness of drug and alcohol harm reduction among young people. “If people want to ask us anything about alcohol or drugs, then we’ll give them fact-based information,” said substance abuse counsellor Merlin Williams. “We’re not here to judge anyone or tell them not to do anything – just how to stay safe.”

The University of Derby – based just across the road from the park – also had its own stall and was promoting the services it has for students from the LGBTQ+ community. Dr Jo Bishton, Head of Equity, Inclusion & Wellbeing at the uni, said: “We’ve got people who are on the stall from our recruitment team from our schools and colleges and from the Multi-Faith Centre so that we can reach out and support the community.”

Anthony Henriques from the Multi-Faith Centre was keen to iterate that the facility is open to everyone, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity. “We’re here to promote complete inclusivity in faith,” he said. “Faith is completely inclusive of all creeds and all communities, and that’s what we’re here to celebrate today in the city of Derby.”

This year’s Pride was particularly significant as 2023 marks the 40th anniversary of Derbyshire LGBT+, the county’s one and only LGBTQ-specific support service. Since 1983, the charity has helped local people with a range of challenges including coming out, facing discrimination and upholding both sexual and mental health.

John Yates-Harold, Project Officer for Adults Services, said: “This year is our ruby anniversary, and we’re going to as many Prides as we can to promote our services. We do a range of about forty different groups and drop-ins every month, covering the full age range and spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identities. We’re here for everybody to come and see us and get the support they need.”

Find out more at derbyshirelgbt.org.uk


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