Girls around the world are trying to balance new burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic, like more household chores and taking care of family members.
GlobalGirl Media — an organization teaching girls in underserved communities worldwide how to be journalists — had young women in eight countries film videos on their cellphones to share their experiences as part of the Corona #IRL campaign.
Global Goal: Unite for Our Future — The Summit, hosted by Global Citizen and the European Commission on June 27, highlighted three of their stories.
The summit brought together activists, experts, world leaders, and artists to pledge to help beat COVID-19, and the biggest names in entertainment honored their commitments with a concert later that night.
Each GlobalGirlMedia story drove home the importance of making vaccines, treatments, and testing available to everyone, everywhere — especially young girls whose futures are in jeopardy due to the crisis.
“When you’re an immigrant, you’re always in quarantine,” Mahmonir, an 18-year-old GlobalGirl Media alumna, said in a video featured in the summit.
“Whether you are in the camp or at home, you don’t have [the] freedom to travel on your own or whenever you want.”
Mahmonir’s family fled the Afghan War and found refuge in Athens, Greece, but her family may be forced to move again.
Nearly 71 million people have been internally displaced due to COVID-19.
Although Mahmonir said she’s felt lonely being separated from her mother and her best friend during stay-at-home orders, knowing everyone is in it together keeps her going.
“Corona forced all the people in the world to understand the immigrant’s life,” Mahmonir said. “And now everybody is in the same situation. We are all human. It doesn’t matter from where you came, from where you are from.”
For Ingrid, a 16-year-old GlobalGirl Media alumna who lives in Villa Nueva, Guatemala, the COVID-19 crisis is forcing her to take on household responsibilities. Villa Nueva is one of the lowest-income neighborhoods in the country, and like many residents, Ingrid’s parents lost their jobs. Now her parents have to work extra hours to cover their basic needs, leaving Ingrid in charge.
“Now that my mom isn’t working, I’ve had to become the homemaker and now my routine is to take care of my siblings and do my chores,” Ingrid said during the summit. “My biggest worry is not going to school and falling behind on my education.”
More than 95% of children in Latin America and the Caribbean are out of school due to COVID-19. Once young girls leave school during a crisis, it is unlikely that they will ever return, lowering their opportunities to escape poverty.
Ingrid worries Guatemala's economic status and weak health system will prevent a vaccine from reaching the country.
“My advice is to take care of yourself and our community because we are going through a difficult situation and the community is now a big family,” she said.
Meanwhile, in the UK, 18-year-old GlobalGirl Media alumna Morisha is struggling to keep her family safe.
Morisha is staying at home with her grandmother — who got stuck in Uppington, England, while visiting from South Africa — and her mother, a health care worker.
Knowing that COVID-19 disproportionately impacts health care workers of color is especially concerning for Morisha.
“I’m definitely worried about my family in South Africa, about whether they will have the same access to the vaccine as we would have here in the UK,” she said during the summit.
Health advocates are stressing the need to make the COVID-19 vaccine accessible to countries like South Africa and Guatemala, and for the most marginalized communities once it is developed.