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June 24, 2017

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Charity to launch girls' rights campaign

TAIPEI--A Taiwanese charity said Wednesday it will launch a girls' rights campaign on Thursday, the first International Day of the Girl Child, to raise awareness of the problems facing young females in Asia.

The Garden of Hope Foundation said it will host a ceremony in Taipei to inaugurate the Asian Girl Campaign, as part of a movement to promote the special day around Asia.

Girls from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mongolia and the Philippines will attend the ceremony to tell their stories and how they overcame prejudices in their societies, the charity said.

Poverty, gender selection, early marriage, sexually transmitted diseases, human trafficking and lack of education are some of the issues that affect the lives of Asian girls, said Chi Hui-jung, CEO of the foundation.

"We hope that campaigns like these will help to improve the rights and social status of girls in Asia," she told CNA.

It is also hoped that the campaign will encourage governments in Asia to invest in and empower girls, Chi said.

The foundation has sent 100,000 pieces of "Taiwan Red" floral fabric to over 80 non-profit organizations and schools in 15 Asian countries to invite girls there to participate in the campaign.

The idea is to encourage girls in countries such as India, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea to wear the fabric as scarves, broaches, and wrist and headbands to proclaim the value of girls, the foundation said.

The fabric, a traditional design by the Hakka people, is characterized by its bright red color and large patterns of peony flowers. It represents a world of "exciting and endless possibilities" that girls can create, according to the charity.

The groups and schools that have been contacted have also been given advice on organizing parades, workshops, meetings, study tours and other events to mark the Day of the Girl, Chi said.

The United Nations last year formally declared Oct. 11 as International Day of the Girl Child.

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