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Plan

Without options to excel outside of the household, many girls are kept silent and their needs are left unaddressed. Unfortunately, gender and age make refugee girls vulnerable to unique and especially dangerous challenges. Some are forced into child marriage in an effort to escape starvation for themselves or their families, often with older men.
When the news broke that President Trump's administration might be ending the Let Girls Learn initiative -- a program that provides educational resources and tools to adolescent girls in underdeveloped countries -- there was an immediate outcry on social media. What reason could there be to end such an inarguably positive initiative?
Given the fragile nature of our planet's environment, there are lots of things to think about this Earth Day But this year, I'm thinking about how climate change -- and the droughts that are becoming more frequent and more severe as a result -- is affecting some of the most vulnerable communities in the world.
We are all learning to find our voices and we are all advocates for a cause, whether or not we realize it. So take up space, and raise your voice. If you don't know what to say, then sing, dance, or build something. Find a way to tell your story.
Eighty years ago, the Spanish Civil War resulted in a vast displacement and large number of unaccompanied child refugees. It was from the ashes of that crisis that Plan International was created. I am sure John Langdon-Davies, the founder of Plan International, would be heartbroken to know how urgently, in so many parts of the world, our work is still needed.
Here in Canada, most of us don't really think about water. Easy access to clean drinking water is part of our daily expectations. But in many parts of Kenya, where I recently visited to see some of Plan International Canada's programs, it's impossible not to think about water -- or rather, the severe lack of it.
As a Youth Advisory Council, our purpose is to provide Plan International Canada with guidance and insights that enable the organization to represent and mobilize a national network of youth, so it can live up to its commitment to improving the lives of children and youth around the world.
Our presence was impossible to ignore, and showed what was possible as we begin a new sort of movement. A movement with women at the helm. A movement with no leader, instead motivated by a unifying commitment to the fight for justice and equality.
Fears that the divisive politics which characterized Brexit and the U.S. presidential election will undermine liberal democracies across the globe, and put the world's most vulnerable people in harm's way, have never been greater. They are not misplaced -- right now real lives and a meaningful Canadian identity are at stake.
Hillary Clinton has been called shrill and cold, where a man might be called firm and resolute. Her election journey was paved with sexism and impossibly high standards, and she had to prove her worth repeatedly despite Donald Trump's evident lack of competence and experience in politics. Never before has there been such a clear example of an underqualified man getting the job over a highly competent woman.