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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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 heather@girlstoschool.org.

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You Can Make it Happen

We have a long waiting list of girls excited about the possibility of going to school this fall, but who lack the funds to do so.

A donation of $200 provides a scholarship to send a girl to school for one year. Sponsors will receive a profile of the girl they sponsor and information about her progress over the year in school.

If $200 is too much, any amount helps:

  • $50 provides things like clothes, food, and tutoring for a girl in school for one year.
  • $25 gives a woman a loan for economic development.
  • $5 provides basic school supplies for a girl for one year.

Groups can also gather money to sponsor a girl. We have had a book club and church groups sponsor girls. A book club with 10 people just needs $20 per person to send a girl to school.

Send a girl to school!