JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — While COVID-19 has disrupted many camps and volunteer activities, two local Girl Scouts have not let the pandemic stop them from serving their community.
When Aditi Mohan learned that after wearing masks all day long, healthcare workers’ ears become irritated, she came up with a solution: crocheted “ear savers.”
These short strips of yarn are worn behind the head so that facial masks can attach to buttons rather than a person’s ears. Mohan has made more than 200 and has delivered them to Georgia Clinic, Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Northside Hospital and Eastside Urgent Care.
“Everyone working on the frontline is taking an enormous personal risk for themselves and their families, and are demonstrating courage and benevolence,” Mohan said. “They are heroes and deserve our recognition and deepest gratitude.”
Mohan is working to grow her project across Georgia and into neighboring states.
Meanwhile, Himani Kalra, who like Mohan is a Girl Scout and member of Student Leadership Johns Creek, continues to work on her Gold Award project from home.
Kalra’s project is to raise public awareness about female gendercide. Female gendercide refers to the deliberate elimination of a female child, either before birth through sex-selective abortion or after birth by killing, abandonment or neglect.
Kalra said she saw the impacts of female gendercide when she visited a family in India, but last summer, when an infant girl was abandoned in Cumming, she realized this problem is not confined to one region of the world.
“It’s deeply impactful to know it’s happening here too,” she said. “It may seem like a far away problem, not really relevant to us, but in the long run it will impact everyone. It will literally destroy a society.”
Gendercide has claimed the lives of more than 160 million girls globally, according to the research of author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Mara Hvistendahl. Kalra has worked to raise awareness of this problem, creating a video and website “Save the Girl Child.” Her Facebook platform “Every Girl Matters” now has more than 7,000 followers.
She has also distributed brochures, made public presentations and organized community letter drives that have delivered more than 500 cards with messages of support to girls rescued by the Invisible Girl Project. The nonprofit provides care for girls who were abandoned and are vulnerable to trafficking.
Realizing that tackling this problem involves not only raising awareness, but also actively working to empower young girls in underprivileged communities, Kalra created a “For the Love of Science” program for Asian immigrant girls in Clarkston, Ga.
“One of the major reasons female gendercide happens is because girls aren’t as valued in society,” Kalra said. “Males are the ones who provide for the family. If girls are educated, they can find jobs, they can increase their status in society, and the mindset that causes female gendercide to happen can slowly decrease.”
Kalra has traveled to India and worked in the Bhalswa Slum District in Delhi, one of India’s poorest and most populous areas where infant girl mortality is over 65 percent. There, she distributed gendercide awareness fliers and care kits with books and hygiene supplies to families with girls.
Through fundraising, she has supported the creation of 10 rural village schools in India by the Ekal Foundation and for two medical camps in the Jahangirpur Village in India. Kalra has written articles about female gendercide for national and international media platforms and has been appointed Youth Brand Ambassador for the Invisible Girl Project.