The event was part of the U.S. Embassy’s outreach to highlight the ongoing 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) campaign. The international campaign started on November 25, the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women, and will end on December 10, International Human Rights Day.
Ambassador Richard Olson of the U.S. Embassy delivered remarks at the event. “The U.S. government remains committed to addressing gender based violence,” Olson said. “One of the key ways we do so is through exchange programs that provide Pakistani professionals with opportunities to build their capacity and to share best practices.”
Access Program students, ages 14-16, discussed the impact of gender-based violence and the significance of combating this behavior. They also wrote on a wall mural their pledges to avoid and prevent violence against women. Ambassador Olson added his own pledge to the mural.
“The 16 Days campaign offers an opportunity to renew the global commitment to free women and girls from violence,” Ambassador Olson concluded. “We all need to work together — the international community, governments, private sector companies, civil society, and grassroots-level advocates — to raise awareness of gender-based violence as a human rights issue.”
The English Access Microscholarship Program provides a foundation of English language skills to talented 13- to 18-year-olds from socio-economically disadvantaged sectors through after-school classes and learning activities. The program gives participants English skills that lead to better jobs and educational prospects. Since the program began in Pakistan in 2005, over 8,000 scholarships have been awarded in 21 locations throughout the country.