Djellza Pulatani, a senior at Lynbrook High School, is a natural born a leader who strives to make a positive change in the world. Djellza was recently selected as a girls panelist for the nonprofit advocacy group She’s the First, in partnership with Akili Dada and MAIA. She was one of six girls to travel to the United Nations to present the first Global Girls’ Bill of Rights.
Djellza discovered the She’s the First program while doing research about establishing a foundation for girls education. She filled out an application and was selected to be on a panel consisting of 15 trailblazing girls from nine different countries who would draft the top 10 rights that all girls should have. More than 1,000 girls from 34 countries submitted their thoughts about what rights should be included in the first Global Girls’ Bill of Rights. Djellza and the team worked together to narrow down the top ten and from there, the Global Girls’ Bill of Rights was born.
These rights include:
• free, quality education
• involvement in decision-making and access to leadership positions
• comprehensive sexual education and access to free, quality reproductive healthcare
• protection from harmful traditions and enjoyment of positive cultural practices
• safety from all forms of violence
• decision-making about their body and sexuality
• protection under the law without fear or unequal treatment
• freedom from exploitation
During her trip to the U.N., Djellza and six of the girls from her team met the Executive Director of U.N. Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to discuss why the rights are so important globally. The girls also met editor Diane Cole from NPR where they shared their hopes for the project and had an article written about their mission. After hearing about the girls presentation, Deputy Secretary-General of the U.N. Amina J. Mohammed made it her mission to meet the group as well.
“It was such an honor” said Djellza.
Following her visit to the U.N., Djellza attended the 8th annual She’s the First Summit in New York City where she met new people and heard from keynote speaker Isha Sesay, a former CNN anchor and correspondent who reported on the girls abducted from school by Boko Haram in 2014.
“We got a real perspective of someone who was an eyewitness of things that were happening and things that are currently still a problem overseas,” said Djellza. “I met a lot of interesting people. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.”
Djellza, whose family is from Kosovo, said that her passion to advocate for girls education stemmed from her immigrant family who are from a more patriarchal society.
“It’s been really prevalent in my everyday life to feel that disconnect,” she said. “I think there’s a lot of girls out there who feel that every day…I have the privilege of being in a community where I can speak my truth and really advocate for others. I have a voice when there are millions of girls out there who are silenced so it’s really been a mission in my life to be able to advocate for others who don’t have a voice.”
Following graduation in the spring, Djellza plans to present the Global Girls’ Bill of Rights to the government of Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro. She, along with the She’s the First organization will provide toolboxes and show government officials how to implement the Bill of Rights into their society.