Girls to School 2017 Newsletter

We’re excited to share with you the impact you had and what we were able to accomplish together over the past year in Mauritania, West Africa!

Since last September, Girls to School has:

  • Educated 106 girls across nine schools (four public schools and five private). These high-quality schools are all within walking distances for the girls.
    • 40 elementary students
    • 42 middle school and high school students
    • 12 university students
    • 12 professional school students
    • Six girls in the program were awarded the “Best in Their Class” this year, earning the highest grades
  • Empowered 30 “Big Sisters” to support younger girls in school. The Big Sister program helps supplement conditions at home where parents with no education are unable to help their daughters out with their studies. The Big Sisters also serve as mentors around personal issues, school, and home life.
  • Provided a safe place for girls to meet and gain strength from each other! At the Community Center we helped build three years ago, the girls continue to go and get help with their homework, have the opportunity to relax, and have fun. The Center hosts weekly volunteers that provides tutoring and support to the girls. This upcoming year we will begin to support maintenance and security expenses.
  • Facilitated five neighborhood microfinance groups with 150 members. The members are primarily mothers of the girls in school. The group members take out small loans to enhance their economic activities, ranging from cooking and selling couscous, washing clothes, dying clothing, and selling grain and food at local markets. This year, the groups decided to set up larger loans for each member to buy land, and then a future loan opportunity would be to build a house. This is especially important as many of the girls’ households are rented, tiny and holding huge families, and are in very poor condition.

Invest in girls’ education – Join Us!

You have the chance to change the lives and futures of more than 250 girls and women this year. The next school year begins in October. Will you help us send girls to school this year?

Any amount you can give makes a significant impact:

  • $200 sends a girl to school for a year
  • $100 gives a girl a tutor or “Big Sister” for a year
  • $75 provides much-needed school supplies
  • $50 provides new clothes to wear at school all year
  • $20 supports a women’s microfinance group

“The more a girl or woman is educated, the more choices she has in her life.”

Click here to donate. Thank you for being part of Girls to School. We couldn’t do this important work without you. Gratefully,

Heather Arney and Coumba Dieng
Left: Girls and their mothers at the Community Center. Right: A microfinance group meeting.


Aminata: It’s So Important, I’m Going to School No Matter What!

Aminata had an early marriage and her husband made her leave school by taking her away to a village for two years. But she fled and went back to hide at her teacher’s house for one month. She only agreed to leave the teacher’s house with the condition that she could go back to her parent’s house and remain at school. Today, Aminata has returned to school and advocating to girls and parents never to make early marriages.

Halima: Determined to Attend School Despite Sickness, Chores, and Poverty

Halima is from a very poor family. Her father does not work and her mother sells juice. They live in a house with two rooms, with no water, with 10 brothers. She is the only girl in her family. This year, Halima was ill and absent from school for one month. But she still became first in her class by waking up 6 a.m. to wash the dishes and swept the house before 7 a.m. so she could work on her school lessons.

Mariem: Smart, Wise Beyond Her Years, and Working to be a Lawyer

Mariem is a very determined 10-year-old girl in her studies because her dream is to become a lawyer. She goes from class to class, speaking for 10 minutes on the role of women’s rights and their protections. She speaks like a 20-year-old woman! She impresses the whole school and in her neighborhood they already call her the lawyer. She is the second in her class this year.

The Guardian: “Arming” Girls with Education

The Guardian’s Global Development blog posted an excellent article today titled, Education is a Powerful Weapon, So Let’s Arm Young Girls With It. They explain, “Reducing child marriage, providing access to health services, and getting more girls to stay in education will save many lives.”

Read the full article >

Girls from Ecole Savior

Girls in school! These are the girls who have most recently been sponsored through Girls to School, thanks to our amazing donors.

Read More

Microloans + Education = An End to Poverty

Almost half the children in the world are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, over 93 million children are out of school – the majority: girls.

Girls to School is addressing this injustice in West Africa through established local organizations that create opportunities for girls to obtain a quality education, and women to obtain access to credit to catalyze income-generating activities.

The education and microcredit programs also have indirect effects on the community. Both men and women are seeing the importance of girls’ education and how it can help alleviate the realities of poverty. The mothers in the microcredit programs are teaching other women in the community the skills they’ve learned. A husband of one of the mothers laughed the first time he heard about his wife joining a microcredit group. Today he works with her at her stand in the market because he saw how she has been earning a steady income.

Be a part of the movement >

Join the Girls to School Family!

Back To SchoolThe anticipation is growing for so many girls in Mauritania as they await the school year to begin this October. Many of them have been sponsored in the past and are excited to know that their sponsor will renew this year. But others have lost their sponsors from previous years, and many more have never been sponsored.

Traditionally, girls in Mauritania are expected to marry in their young teens, and at that point bid farewell to any  further education or professional growth as an adult. At the same time, many parents wanting to send their daughters to school cannot afford the cost of tuition fees, uniforms and school supplies, and need the girls’ help with household duties.  In an environment such as this, $200 US dollars can literally change lives – and not only for the student! Her mother (or another woman in her community) will receive a $25 microloan for entrepreneurial development, so she can make a greater income without needing her daughter at home.  Combined with tutoring and a new Big Sisters program, Girls to School is developing woman entrepreneurs, keeping girls in school, and empowering previously sponsored girls with the opportunity to serve as a mentor and guide.

In the past year, thanks to your contributions, Girls to School has completed the following:

  • Enrolled and supported 85 girls in school.
  • Completed fundraising goal of $25,000 to construct the community center.  In 2010, we purchased the land and this year we are excited to announce that that community center broke ground in January.   The center will provide a safe place where the girls can meet and gain strength from each other, learn how to use a computer, get help with their homework, and a have a safe place to relax and have fun.
  • Established and facilitated six neighborhood microfinance groups with 87 women members.  Training sessions were provided to group members on a regular basis.
  • Assigned 38 big sisters to support younger girls in school. The program helps supplement conditions in homes where parents are uneducated and cannot help out with homework and studies. In addition, the big sisters serve as mentors and provide guidance on school, home, and personal concerns.
  • Facilitated three Women Management Committees each composed of 10 members.  The committees worked with mothers, teachers, and principals to manage day-to-day challenges in the girls’ schools as well as in their communities.  Issues addressed included forced marriages, school drop-out rates, and household abuse.
  • Monitored and evaluated all Girls to School program activities on a monthly basis.
    Big sisters

    Three big sisters at a peer group meeting with little sisters. Photo credit: ANFE

We hope that you will support the efforts of Girls to School.  The school year will start up in October, and we encourage you to consider supporting one girl’s entire 2012-2013 school year with a $200 contribution. There are many girls currently on the waiting list for the program.  However, any amount is a tremendous help and can provide school supplies, clothing, tutors, or microloans.

To become a sponsor or donate, you can donate online or send a check by September 17 to:

Girls to School

PO Box 45818

Kansas City, MO 64171

Thanks for supporting Girls to School! If you have any questions or want more information, contact Heather at

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