Being a young girl will not stop me!

- 2019-03-05
Song Rany's message to all girls and women is clear: stand up for yourself! Be confident, be committed in what you are doing, and show your strength and potential.
Song Rany showing on a map of the mekong river where they have preserved the nature.
Song Rany showing on a map of the Mekong river where the community have preserved the nature.

Song Rany's call for change happened when she saw how the fishes her community were depending on were becoming endangered because of the illegal fishing. It was a wake up call for Song Rany to do anything in her power to protect the natural resources in her community.

We need to protect our natural resources so that we can use them sustainably. Before, there were so many fishes, but the number of fishes has decreased dramatically.

She gathered all her bravery and ran for election for the local community organisation Ksach Leo. At the age of 25 she became the youngest community leader ever. Many thanks for the support of her family and trust of the community and the very influential elders.

Song Rany together with her community and visitors of Forum Syd.
Song Rany (4th right) together with her community and visitors from Sweden.

But the victory was not without a fight. There were four or five elders who were not happy with Rany’s leadership since she was just a "young girl". If the older people could not stop illegal fishing, how would a young girl be able to do it?

Decisive leader

But Song Rany had plans in mind was not going to let some elderly stop her.  Together with community members she started patrolling the protected area. With her willpower and bravery Song Rany has made it clear that she will not be scared away to protect the nature.

- I am not afraid of those illegal fishermen. They need to learn the law and how they can use the legal fishing gears instead. The outsiders who are fishing in our community must abide by the same rules and regulations as we do.   

With proven leadership skills she challenged the doubting ones while also finding new ways of raising funds to start regular patrolling of the protected fishing areas. Saving the environment is no longer a small hobby of a few in Song Ranys community. She has created a huge support to save the nature and continue with even stronger improvements for sustainable livelihoods which will benefit the whole community.

Women’s rights are human rights!

Unfortunately the obvious statement is far from reality. Still in 2019 women face systematic discrimination of their rights and liberties every day in every country. Women and organisations who stand up for their rights and challenge patriarchal norms faces a lot resistance, in many times we are harassed and threatened.

To commemorate International Women’s Day Forum Syd highlight inspirational women who show that together we have the power to change! 

Read our series "Women change the world" of inspiring women's rights activists:

Belarus: Protecting the environment with art.
Colombia: The story of Jani Silva - a rebel from the heart.
Kenya: Grace Lolim, Defying Culture in the Fight for Equality. 
Liberia: Betty Breeze Doh, standing up for thousands of women in Liberia.
Somalia: Kaltun Sheikh Hassan challenges old norms and practices.
Sweden: Lovette Jallow is fighting racism in Sweden.

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