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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Fighting female genital mutilation

February 7th, 2014
04:56 PM ET

The World Health Organization estimates that some 140 million women have been subjected to some form of female genital mutilation. A practice the UN calls a violation of human rights and gender equality. They say around 3 million girls face the risk of FGM every year and have declared February 6th the 'International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation'. To mark this day, Becky spoke to Naana Otoo-Oyortey from the Foundation for Women's Health Research and Development.

She identified various recurring problems when it comes to tackling this subject.

"There are women who don't even know that they've been through FGM, and that in itself is challenging because if you had it at a much younger age you may not recall when it happened, and you may not see yourself as different, you'd see yourself as normal."

There is also a common acceptance of this as a tradition within certain communities. "For a lot of people they are born into a culture where they see it also as part of their culture. We've had young girls in the UK who have said 'I wanted to go through it because I felt it was part of my culture'. Some girls who say 'I went on holiday and I insisted that I went through it'."

However, Otoo-Oyortey notes that progress is also being made, particularly in Europe, where the younger generation are challenging the status quo. "FGM affects primarily younger people, and in Africa even though you see that the campaign is mainly led by older women, we're seeing in Europe that there's much more engagement, primarily because young people have more access and have a better voice, and are able to understand their rights, and are able to engage on this issue."


Filed under:  Africa • Becky's Interviews • Girls Education • Health

Schools offer counseling to Syrian kids

January 29th, 2014
04:13 PM ET

Run in a home on the Turkish-Syrian border, the Banyam Martyrs School offers education, and counseling, to more than 300 Syrian refugee children. All of these students have lost one or both parents in the ongoing war.

Reem Banoush, the school manager, fled Syria with her family after the war broke out. She explained to CNN why she set up the school. "My children have had a private education, but now they have regressed by two years. After I'd worked with them they had become better, so I decided to make this school; first for the same of my children, and secondly for the sake of the children of martyrs."

Many of the students carry traumatic memories from the war. One 12 year old boy talks about his father's death. "I heard someone screaming and people ran to help him and I went to help him too. And then the second rocket hit."

Over 2 million refugees have fled Syria so far. Of these, 1.1 million Syrian refugees are under 18, and UNICEF estimates that more than half a million of them are not in school.

Banoush's experience further highlights how important an education is to those who can get it. "We found the children were very receptive to our education and they loved the school and even sometimes during school breaks the children would say 'we do not want a break, we want to come'."

Filed under:  Education • Girls Education • Middle East • Syria • Video

Freida Pinto pushes for girls' education

October 14th, 2013
03:22 PM ET

International Day of the Girl Child, October 11th, was started two years ago by the U.N to promote girls’ rights across the globe.

One of the biggest challenges facing young girls is getting access to education. UNICEF reporting there are 31 million girls not getting a primary education across the world.

Max Foster talks to actress Freida Pinto about her push for girls’ right to education.

Malala Day: Becky and Sarah Brown's roundtable

July 12th, 2013
09:58 PM ET

Becky and education advocate Sarah Brown, the wife of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, chat to girls about the importance of education ahead of Malala Day

Filed under:  Becky's Interviews • Girls Education