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In India, Uma was due to be married when she was only 12 years old. But her mum made sure her daughter had the opportunity to go to school – something she never had.
Now Uma is determined other girls have the chance to build their own futures and through her role as a social worker, she’s already changed lives.
“I was able to prevent child marriages, convince early school leavers to go back to school and I gave lessons to adults during the evenings,” she says. “It spurred me on to help girls and women who have been through similar experiences to me.”
The coronavirus crisis has caused school closures across the globe. At the peak of lockdown, more than 1.6 billion children were out of school in 184 countries.
In Peru, Xiomara is one of those girls. Before lockdown, she was happy at school. Now she and her younger brother help around the house with cleaning and feeding their pigs.
But Xiomara firmly believes that this crisis can bring out the best in people and she hopes to return to school soon. "After school I want to be a nurse. I want to help people in my community and other places," she says.
In Uganda, Cathy regularly uses social media to keep in touch with friends. But soon after she joined, she experienced an unsettling incident of online harassment.
“A guy came into my inbox and said ‘hi’. The following day when I woke up, I found he had sent me his nude pictures. I was shocked,” she explains.
“People may not see the effects of online harassment, but it can lead to depression, even death. Many people have been at home, and the only thing they could use was the internet. I think girls should be offered more protection online.”