Danish Girls March For Their African Sisters

Posted on 15 December 2009 by editor

Credit: Mantoe Phakathi/IPS

Credit: Mantoe Phakathi/IPS

By Mantoe Phakathi
COPENHAGEN (IPS/TerraViva) – As they walked down the streets with containers of water resting on their heads – an unusual sight on the streets of Copenhagen – a group of Danish school girls attracted a lot of attention from passersby.

But these girls were not seeking attention for self gratification – they were fighting for an African cause.

With water containers resting on their heads – the way most African women bring home their water – the 45 girls were sending a message that in the face of climate change, young girls are being pushed to a much more vulnerable position.

“It’s the girls’ responsibility to get water from the wells, rivers and other sources which are a long distance from their homes,” said Charlotte Uhel (12). “This in most instances forces the girls to miss school.”

Uhel, like the rest of her colleagues, goes to Horsholm International School, about 30 kilometres from the Danish capital.

“We have a sister school in Kenya, Baharini Primary School, and we know exactly the difficulties that our peers go through every day,” said Uhel.

Organised by the Danish Red Cross, the six-kilometre walk symbolised the average distance African women have to travel to fetch water – often more than twice a day.

“With climate change, the distance will be even longer because water is becoming more scarce every day,” said Anne Mette Meyer, the Danish Red Cross climate change advisor.

“Therefore these girls, aged between eight and 15 are holding hands with their African counterparts to say we are with you.”

If the U.N. Climate Conference fails to reach a legally-binding agreement that would also put mechanisms for adaptation in place, said Meyer, then Africa, especially the drought-prone sub-Saharan region, faces a doomed future.

“We’re already facing a water crisis in this continent and, although mitigation of the greenhouse gas is also important, adaptation should be given priority because we already have to deal with the impact of climate change,” said Meyer.

The girls began the walk in high spirits as they filled their jerry cans (containers) with water and made a procession from Kongens Nytorv Square before reaching their destination 500 metres before Bella Centre.

But the excitement had worn off by the time they got to the final destination where they were received by head of Red Cross Climate Centre, Madeleen Helmer.

“I’m very tired,” said Tina Krume (12). “I wonder how the African girls walk all the way with heavy buckets on their heads on a daily basis.”

Although disappointed that they could not go inside the conference venue as they expected because of the congestion with many people blocking the entrance, the girls felt hey had accomplished their mission.

“By being on the streets and giving people information about the water situation in other parts of the world especially Africa, the girls have created awareness,” said Helmer.

(END/2009)

6 Comments For This Post

  1. asha kachru Says:

    bravo girls, i feel proud of you. asha kachru, a grandmother from india

  2. jenny Says:

    thank you, asha kachru, it is nice to know they reached far with this action.

  3. Rueben Njolomole Says:

    If Africa has such sympathisers it shows that without the influence of these heavy polluters, a better climate change deal can be made. Cant we drum up this campaign more so that heavy polluters can lay their hands off the deal and see reasonable emmision cuts being agreed upon. Thank you girls for showing solidarity with Africa

  4. marta lazic Says:

    WELL DONE TINA, WELL DONE GIRLS!! SEEING THESE THINGS ON TV IS NOT THE SAME AS ACTUALLY PUTTING YOURSELVES INTO ‘OTHER PEOPLES SHOES’AND EXPERIENCING IT ON YOUR OWN SKIN.
    IT IS A BIG SHAME THAT ‘THEY’ DIDN’T LET YOU IN TO SPEAK OR GIVE A BIG PRAISE AT THE BIG CONFERENCE!!!! THEY SHOULD SHOW SUPPORT TO YOU AS WELL AS YOU SHOWED SUPPORT FOR THE AFRICAN GIRLS AND WOMEN.
    MARTA FROM LONDON

  5. forex robot Says:

    Thats an interesting article – your blog is really good i keep coming back here all the time keep it up!

  6. Wethrleah Says:

    mmm just found this youtube vid on google and loads people say it works


 

 

 

 

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